According to a new report from the University of Victoria, there is no proof that e-cigarettes are a gateway to tobacco, and in fact, it’s the opposite that could be true.

After conducting a comprehensive review of academic articles, researchers believe they have evidence that vaping is not encouraging tobacco use among young people, but replacing it.

A recent longitudinal study on students from the Virginia Commonwealth University found that vaping is not a gateway to smoking, piling up the evidence on the issue.

Principle investigator Marjorie MacDonald said fears of the gateway effect are “unjustified and overblown”.

“From a public health perspective, it’s positive to see youth moving towards a less harmful substitute to tobacco smoking.”

After examining 170 articles, the research team says that tobacco use among youths has declined as vaping as risen in popularity, easing fears that vaping leads to real cigarettes.

The report, constructed by researchers at the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research, also found that e-cig vapour is less toxic than cigarette smoke.

The latter sentiment is widely echoed by the scientific community. Previous studies have found that vaping does not cause DNA mutations and are around 95% safer than regular cigarettes.

Similarly, there is no oxidative stress response in viable epithelial lung cells with e-cig vapour, unlike cigarettes.