The concern over nicotine addiction among our youth is probably only matched by that of teen smoking, but it seems that ecigs aren’t doing what was feared. The cries of ecig opponents who think ecig juice will simply snare a new generation of addicts seemed viable if presented in a certain angle, but we are increasingly understanding that it just isn’t true.
Nobody wants kids vaping, especially not those who would have never approached cigarettes to begin with. Thankfully, more and more studies are bearing out the fact that this thought process with regard to ecigarettes is incorrect. The latest of which is this Welsh study that focused on teen smoking and vaping, the results of which backed up what we already believed to be true.
The study asked 1,601 children in Wales between the ages of 10 and 11 and 9,055 children between the ages of 11 and 16 what their interaction and experiences were with electronic cigarettes. The results showed that ecig use was more prevalent that traditional tobacco cigarettes, with every age group except the 15 and 16 year olds being more likely to have tried an ecig once than an analogue cigarette.
If that sounds like kids are simply replacing teen smoking with teen vaping, for all that that means, the next fact will negate that. Teens may be trying ecigs more than cigarettes at young ages, but they aren’t coming back to them, making the concern of nicotine addiction a bit misplaced.
The study bore out that only a small percentage of those teens who ever try ecigs actually take them up as a regular practice. The authors of the ecig study may warn that, “The prevalence of experimental ecigarette use, combined with few distinctions according gender or family background could allow ecigarettes to become normalised relatively quickly with the youth population.” Yet in the very same breath, they have to admit “However, at present, there is a very low prevalence of regular use, which suggests that ecigarettes are unlikely to be making a significant direct contribution to adolescent nicotine addiction.”
That’s right, dabbling with some ecig juice in your youth, although not advisable for non-smokers, isn’t “hooking” in a new generation like ecig opponents want us to believe. As the Medical Daily explains with statistics from this study, “the amount of teens who regularly smoked ecigarettes but had never smoked a conventional cigarette was only 0.3 percent.”
Only 0.3% Of Teens That Have Never Smoked Have Tried Vaping
But there is more to it than that even. The next argument in line is that of electronic cigarettes serving as a sort of “gateway” nicotine device.
This assertion insists that once young people try ecigarettes, they will transition themselves over to the world of teen smoking even if they don’t keep up with the vaping.
Not so, says this report, which found that ecig usage rose only when other substance use was taken into context.
Smokers of traditional tobacco cigarettes were 100 times more likely to use ecigs and those who smoked cannabis were 50 times more likely to use them. “These figures led the researchers involved in the study to conclude that ecigarettes posed no sizable threat to the adolescent nicotine addiction and was also not likely to act as a gateway drug to conventional smoking,” writes the Medical Daily.
We should note that the same article had the fairly humorous title of “ecigarettes Aren’t Cool Enough To Smoke More Than Once, Pose Little Threat To Teen Addiction.” This speaks at the heart of the battle we are facing with regard to how the public looks at electronic cigarettes. It may be the case that, rather than a new trend that is luring our youth to vaping, ecigarettes are only “cool” to pick up and try, not to continue to use.
More than that, the addictive draw that they may contain due to nicotine content simply isn’t doing what people who like to scare us are saying it is doing. New studies suggest that there are more addictive chemicals in smoke than just nicotine. While certainly this is an issue we need to continue to follow closely, because nobody wants non-smoking teens picking up an electronic cigarette for fun, it isn’t nearly the threat made out to be. That’s good news for teens, but really that’s good news for all of us involved with the electronic cigarette revolution.