There have been many concerns about vaping in the past, the majority of which being caused by irresponsible media reporting and a lack of awareness of what vaping is and what the difference between vaping and smoking is. The majority of these concerns have been alleviated thanks to public health campaigns, scientific research, academic reports and so on. One concern that has remained outstanding, and understandably so, is the one where some people have worried that vaping, teens and smoking are all linked.

Many have assumed that vaping is a gateway to tobacco cigarette smoking. This is simply not true and a new UK study, the first of its kind, confirms this. Before diving into this study and the findings of it, it is important to remember that children and teens should not be smoking OR vaping. Rules, regulations and protections are in place to prohibit under 18 year olds from trying either legally.

By disproving the link between vaping and smoking, we do not believe for one minute that children or teens should be vaping either. Vaping is aimed at those adults who are already a smoker and are looking for an alternative to smoking that is better for them. Given that Public Health England have announced findings that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than tobaco cigarettes, e cigarettes and e liquids are able to offer that alternative.

Vaping, Teens and Smoking: The Study

A mammoth number of participants took part in this study; just under 250,000 across England, Wales and Scotland. The study was paid for by the National Institute for Health and undertaken by key researchers at Cardiff University. This study showed that the number of children and teens between 1998 and 2015 who had tried smoking had fallen dramatically by 41%, down to just 19%. The number of regular underage smokers dropped from 19% down to 5%. What is interesting about this ongoing decline in numbers is that from 2003, when the first modern e cigarette hit the market, vaping popularity skyrocketed. It stands to reason therefore that if vaping encouraged juvenile smoking that smoking numbers would have risen alongside vaping rates, not decreased.

Other questions the participants answered focused on alcohol and cannabis use, showing a decline in both of these in older children and teens. Attitudes to smoking also changed over the period of time, with far fewer young people feeling that smoking was “ok”.

Vaping, Teens and Smoking

Clearly, smoking among young people is in decline. This is excellent news! Fewer young smokers mean fewer adult smokers too so it stands to reason that if the current decline continues, fewer smokers will be around in future generations. That means fewer instances of damage to health from smoking (according to the World Health Organisation tobacco cigarette smoke contains toxic ingredients which have the potential to cause numerous illnesses, disease including cancer, and premature death), less strain on the NHS and less harm to the environment.

As time has moved on more and more research has been released to show the differences between smoking and vaping and how vaping is a valid and healthier alternative to smoking where smokers don’t want to give up for numerous reasons or struggle to give up smoking. We are pleased to see this ongoing misunderstanding about vaping, teens and smoking put to rest as this will hopefully encourage more people to advocate for vaping in order to improve the nation’s health by continuing to offer alternatives and reduce the number of adults smoking.

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