Largest Study Ever PROVES Kids Don’t Vape Then Go On to Smoke

Can we now finally hammer the last nail in the coffin of the myth that vaping is a gateway for youngsters into smoking please?

In the largest study ever carried out into the link between kids – vaping and smoking a collaboration of health experts under the umbrella of Public Health England has found youngsters are NOT likely to make the transition.

kids vaping

So to be absolutely clear – young people between the ages of 11 to 16 that experiment with vaping DO NOT move onto cigarettes.

And before the anti-vape brigade jumps up and down shouting ‘just another study’ the results come from five separate surveys carried out between 2015 and 2017 and conducted across the UK.

Lead author Linda Bauld from Stirling University said:

Recent studies have generated alarming headlines that e-cigarettes are leading to smoking. 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.

Data from 60,000 young people was gathered from 5 different studies each with different briefs and methods – the studies were:

  • The Youth Tobacco Policy Survey
  • The Schools Health Research Network Wales Survey
  • Two Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
  • Smokefree Great Britain-Youth Surveys
  • Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey

The final results showed that the amount of youngsters smoking had dropped with between 11% and 20% of kids trying a cigarette and of those just 1% and 4% became regular smokers.

As to e-cigarettes and vaping – between 7% and 18% had tried an e-cig at one time or another with between 0.1% and 0.5% becoming regular users.

The study stated:

In summary, surveys across the UK show a consistent pattern: most e-cigarette experimentation does not turn into regular use, and levels of regular use in young people who have never smoked remain very low.

Armed With the Facts Kids Make Healthier Choices

The findings pretty much mirrors the anecdotal evidence I collected after chatting with a bunch of kids in my home town in the piece Adolescents and Vaping.

And it comes back to my old mantra ‘education not legislation’.

Cigarettes in ashtrayA whole generation of kids have been told about the dangers of smoking and have made their personal health choices based on the facts – cigarettes kill and therefore they don’t smoke in anywhere near the numbers our generation did back when I was a child.

The fact the anti-vaping brigade has pounced on e-cigs being a ‘gateway to kids smoking’ is quite simply sordid reeking of desperation and an extremely dark practice that MUST end now.

The end result of this constant anti vape braying brigade getting heard in the media has been a whole host of knee jerk banning reactions from cities such as San Francisco and New Jersey banning or planning to ban flavoured e-liquids ‘to protect the kiddies’.

This study alone proves that is a ridiculous assumption and I hope vaping groups far and wide pounce on these results and get the message out – vaping is NOT a gateway to smoking.

And therefore flavoured e-liquids are NOT designed to hook the kids in – they are meant for adults to get a bit of pleasure out of a relatively harmless chemical called nicotine.

And let’s not forget for every single piece of fake news and bad press around vaping – you can add another smoker who ‘doesn’t see the point’ in quitting in effect forcing a smoker into ill health and a high chance of an early grave – but that as they say is a whole other story.

Conclusions – The Kid’s Are Alright!

The study concludes:

This paper highlights the current rates of e-cigarette use among youth in the UK, where e-cigarettes form a part of a tobacco harm reduction policy landscape. Whilst it is estimated that there are 2.9 million e-cigarette current users among adults in Great Britain – regular use among 11–16 year olds remains very low, at 3% or less, and remains largely confined to regular smokers.
Regular e-cigarette use among never smokers is very rare. These low rates of regular use suggest that youth experimentation is not currently leading to greater frequency of use, however, comparing youth e-cigarette data and trends across surveys and countries is crucial to better understand youth trends. Survey measures must be designed to assess frequency of use, rather than just ever or past 30 day use.

The bit that jumps out at me is the line:

…regular use [e-cigs]among 11–16 year olds remains very low, at 3% or less, and remains largely confined to regular smokers.

kids with fags

That’s regular smokers aged between 11 and 16.

Now I’m a dad and a granddad and given the mounting evidence that e-cigs are 95% safer than regular cigarettes I’d far rather my son or grandson experimented with vaping rather than a Lambert and Butler – fact.

So to see kids who are ALREADY hooked on cigarettes attempting to quit or cut down by using e-cigs has to be a good thing right?

Commenting on the findings of the study Deborah Arnott – chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health said:

ASH will continue to monitor the potential impact of e-cigarettes on young people, however this study provides reassurance that to date fears that they are a gateway into smoking are just not born out by the facts on the ground. A small proportion of young people do experiment with e-cigs, but this does not appear to be leading to regular vaping or smoking in any numbers, indeed smoking rates in young people are continuing to decline.

graham moore

Graham Moore one of the collaborators of the study was a little more forthright:

…concerns that e-cigarettes are leading large numbers of young people into addiction and tobacco use increasingly seem to be implausible.

You can read the full study HERE.

Now let’s hope this puts an end to the constant fear mongering that us vapers are a gang of smoking Pied Pipers tooting on our mods and dragging all those poor little kiddies into a life of nicotine dependency 😉

Though somehow I doubt it…so watch this space as they say…

Neil H
I began vaping over 7 years ago and found it easy to give up a 40 per day roll-up habit! DTL: Lost Vape DNA75C BF - Dead Rabbit SQ - MTL: JacVapour Sandstorm DNA 75 + Savour RTA...Beater set-up Lost Vape DNA 250c and Reload RTA I'm a former journalist and now a sort of writer and author.. I'm an Army veteran - adore dogs and never happier than with a good book on a beach.


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