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E-cigarette science – is scaremongering hampering research opportunities?

samanthasamantha Posts: 3,015Administrator, Moderator admin
FULL ARTICLE: https://www.theguardian.com/science/sifting-the-evidence/2017/sep/13/e-cigarette-science-is-scaremongering-hampering-research-opportunities

Whenever I tell anyone I research e-cigarettes, they almost always have an opinion about them. Some will be vapers themselves, and those who are will almost without fail to sing the praises of the device that finally helped them quit smoking. But often people who’ve never tried e-cigarettes will focus on the potential risks of using them, and in particular whether they’re likely to reintroduce smoking to a young generation who have been steadily shunning it in larger and larger numbers over recent decades. A particular fear is that young people will experiment with e-cigarettes and that this will be a gateway into smoking, as well as fears around the harms from e-cigarettes themselves.

A recent detailed study of over 60,000 UK 11-16-year-olds has found that young people who experiment with e-cigarettes are usually those who already smoke cigarettes, and even then experimentation mostly doesn’t translate to regular use. Not only that but smoking rates among young people in the UK are still declining. Studies conducted to date investigating the gateway hypothesis that vaping leads to smoking have tended to look at whether having ever tried an e-cigarette predicts later smoking. But young people who experiment with e-cigarettes are going to be different from those who don’t in lots of other ways – maybe they’re just more keen to take risks, which would also increase the likelihood that they’d experiment with cigarettes too, regardless of whether they’d used e-cigarettes.

Although there are a small minority of young people who do begin to use e-cigarettes without previously being a smoker, as yet there’s little evidence that this then increases the risk of them becoming cigarette smokers. Add to this report from Public Health England that have concluded e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking, and you might think that would be the end of the fear surrounding them.

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Comments

  • rbaker1009rbaker1009 Posts: 1,150Member
    "..Public Health England that have concluded e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking, and you might think that would be the end of the fear surrounding them."

    You'd think.
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