Public Health England, an executive agency of the UK Department of Health, has refuted claims that e-cigs lure teenagers into smoking traditional tobacco after conducting a study.

The PHE survey, involving 60,000 teenagers in the 11 to 16 age bracket, found that there is no evidence that vaping is a gateway to smoking.

It’s not the first time the health agency has leapt to the defence of e-cigarettes. They have denied reports in the past that e-cigs normalise smoking, and were the agency that famously claimed e-cigs are 95% safer than tobacco cigarettes.

The analysis found that only 3% of young people vape at least once per week, and that use was “highly concentrated” among those who have already used tobacco.

Across the five surveys, analysis found that among people who had never smoked, regular e-cig usage was between 0.1% and 0.5%, indicating that warnings of teenagers being lured to smoking are ‘unfounded’.

Linda Bauld, professor of health policy at the University of Stirling, which collaborated with the research, said: “Our study also shows that smoking rates in young people are continuing to decline.”

“Our analysis of the latest surveys from all parts of the United Kingdom, involving thousands of teenagers shows clearly that for those teens who don’t smoke, e-cig experimentation is simply not translating into regular use.”