A new study on e-cigarettes examined the possibility that electronic cigarette use will lead to smoking — and determined that there is no indication use of smokeless tobacco alternatives will be a risk factor for future deadly habits.
The e-cigarette study was contrasted with a Centers For Disease Control and Prevention report in September, which suggested that electronic cigarettes should be treated with caution — as the devices could invite the “initiation of the use of conventional cigarettes or other tobacco products.” It makes sense, as nicotine has long been considered a huge factor in the high failure rates for smoking cessation.
E-cig use — or vaping — has faced considerable challenge in the public health sphere predominantly for the fact that it looks so much like smoking. The practice is relatively new, and off the shelf “cigalikes,” as vaping enthusiasts call them, can vary in their ingredient profiles. However, most long term vapers or e-cigarette users very often eventually swap out the large brand disposable and rechargeable versions for more permanent setups with a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and flavoring “juice.”
Given the use of common ingredients and high quit rates among vapers, e-cigarettes present the possibility for significant gains in public health, and some cynics say also pose a risk to “vice tax” revenues.
Despite a lack of firm evidence that vaping poses any significant health risk, e-cigarette bans have cropped up in some jurisdictions, and the devices are even considered under some laws to be legally equivalent to smoking and subject to the same restrictions. One common justification for such reasoning is the presumed risk that children will be able to access electronic cigarettes and become hooked, gradually moving on to cigarette smoking.
Theodore Wagener, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, was part of the research team examining whether e-cig use serves as a gateway drug for young adults.
Wagener and the research team surveyed 1,300 college students with an average age of 19 — and said at a recent meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, in National Harbor, Maryland that vaping did not “seem as though it really proved to be a gateway to anything” in the course of the research.
Among participants, 43 students said that e-cigarettes were their first introduction to nicotine products — and only one of those students went on to smoke cigarettes.
The research on e-cigarettes and smoking were presented at the meeting, but are still subject to peer review and are considered preliminary findings. Wagener cautions parents to advise teens that e-cigarettes are not proven to be risk free, and still tend to contain nicotine and other ingredients.