Doctors and public health experts have slammed the study claiming teenagers who use e-cigs are six times more likely to start smoking.
The study followed 300 teenagers who had never smoked for a year. Half of the surveyed said they had used an e-cig, whilst the other half had never vaped.
None of the 300 teenagers had ever smoked and after one year, the researchers found that e-cigarette users were six-times-more likely to start smoking cigarettes. The study was published on Monday.
But leading tobacco experts have doubted the study, accusing those who have reported it as misrepresenting its conclusions and say the study is full of problems, making the research questionable.
Retractors have pointed to the study examining teens that had tried e-cigarettes, rather than surveying those who are regular vapers. As a result, this could mean that the 150 who were ‘vapers’ could have just taken a single puff.
Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London, pointed to the declining teen tobacco sales in the US as a signifier that report is inaccurate.
“This suggests e-cigarettes are actually helping young people not to smoke tobacco cigarettes (something this study did not even consider),” said McNeill.
Peter Hajek, director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London, joined McNeill in slamming the report.
“The authors misinterpret their findings. Like several previous studies of this type, this one just shows that people who try things, try things.”
“To assess whether e-cigarette experimentation by adolescents encourages smoking, one has to examine whether an increase in e-cigarette experimentation is accompanied by an increase in smoking on the population level,” Hajek added.
“Such data are available and they show that as e-cigarette experimentation increased, smoking rates in young people have gone down. In fact, the decline in youth smoking over the past few years has been faster than ever before.”