This article reflects my opinion and thoughts only. It doesn’t express what MTLvaping.com is thinking as a whole. Also, it is not meant to insult or degrade anyone.
This is my second article on this topic. If you didn’t you should read it: Does Vaping Lead To Smoking? Teen Vaping Gateway To Smoking Study Debunked.
What I did was to take the most recent and most famous study used by anti-vaping advocates (of all sorts) to try and demonstrate that (teen) vaping leads to smoking and make a quick counter-analysis of it. I basically debunked it and disproved (with the help of Prof. Brad Rodu’s insightful comment) its claims.
In this article, I’m going to do the opposite. I’m going to discuss and add my input and thoughts to a set of studies presented by Professor Linda Bauld that clearly and unequivocally show, simply by studying what teens actually do and don’t do, that vaping does NOT lead to smoking. And that the now famous “teen vaping gateway to smoking” is nothing more than a fairytale.
I’ll also speak about Public Health England ‘s and NHS’ stance that vaping is 95% less harmful than somking cigarettes… and, the sometimes surprising, consequences of that.
Professor Linda Bauld, the author of this study on teen, vaping and smoking, is highly regarded and respected by her European peers. Though, you may hear or read her being smeared by US and other anti-vaping and/or pro-cigarette advocates, of course.
She’s the lead author of the Public Health England & Royal College of Physicians reports concluding that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking.
Prof. Linda Bauld presents, in the video below, the world’s largest study on teen, smoking and vaping.
There are several studies, in fact, and they all show the exact same thing. Vaping does not lead to smoking. There is no teen vaping gateway to smoking.
If there’s a gateway, it’s from smoking to vaping because of the millions of smokers that quit and use vaping as a life-saving alternative.
And that’s exactly how it should be.
I’ll let you watch the video of her presentation first, and then we’ll see, together, what are the main takeaways of this (these) study (e.g. the absence of the imaginary teen vaping gateway to smoking and the resulting fact that vaping does not lead to smoking) and we’ll discuss the UK government’s stance that not only vaping does not lead to smoking but that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking.
You’ll find out that, in the UK, some vape shops, with the blessing of the government, have taken up residence in several hospitals… yes, hospitals. Imagine this in the US, right now.
The general consensus in Europe, and this is confirmed by the studies presented below, is that vaping is far from being an epidemic among teens.
Vaping is viewed as a (way) safer alternative to smoking and should be encourage, certainly not demonized or, worse, banned.
This is THE study on teen vaping and smoking and vaping gateway to smoking you want to know about.
It’s been done in the UK on 60 000 teens. Plus, the author also summarizes and talks about studies conducted in other European countries and were a similar pattern occurs.
So, what did she learn?
I. A Ridiculous Low Number Of Teens Become Regular Vaper.
Young people do indeed experiment. Shocker.
This is a phenomenon as old as the world, children and teens try doing things they shouldn’t.
So, yes, a non-negligible percentage (between 7 and 32%, for teens less than 17-year-old, depending on countries and studies and max 8.8% for 17-18-year-olds) of them have tried to vape at least once in their young life.
A. Between 67 and 92% of teens under the age of 17 have tried conventional (and truly deadly) cigarettes (in the same countries and reported by the same studies).
As we’ve known for a fact that cigarettes cause cancer for decades, shouldn’t we be way more alarmed by these numbers?
No, of course not, let’s keep selling the cancer sticks and ban vaping instead.
B. The numbers associated to teens under 17 ever trying (even just one puff, once) vaping go down to between 4 and 14% and 5.7 and 8% for 17/18-year-olds (again, depending on studies and countries) for those who’ve never at least tried one real cigarette before.
So, yes, youngsters are youngsters and they will experiment. And between 4 and 14% of them will try a puff on a vaping device whereas they never smoked before.
But let’s take a look at those who keep on vaping somewhat regularly (once a week or more).
C. Only between 0.1 and 0.5% of those less than 17-year-old and 0 to 0.3% of 17/18-year-olds will become at least weekly users of vaping devices.
That’s it. That’s the real teen vaping epidemic that the CDC, FDA and misinformed (or disinforming) researchers are freaking out about and want to ban vaping for.
Don’t get me wrong, any number of young people potentially getting addicted to a chemical substance that could harm them (though nicotine is NOT a carcinogenic agent. According to all the science out there, even the anti-vaping –or anti-smoking, for that matter–one, nicotine does NOT cause cancer) is an issue.
But between 0 to 0.5%, seriously?
II. Completely Banning A Product For A Very Limited And Illegal Use Of Said Product?
Only 0.5% (max) of teens who had never tried a cigarette before, vapes somewhat regularly (remember that only vaping on an e-cigarette once a week qualifies a teen as a vaper). And that’s what causes all this hysteria?
The worst part is, vaping is illegal for teens!
So, the FDA, CDC, some US states and soon the US government as well as other countries want to or have banned (India did it, China as well. Korea and Japan seriously consider doing it too) vaping for EVERYONE whereas these 0.5% of teens shouldn’t even be able to vape in the first place?
These institutions and governments want to ban vaping as a whole, for everyone, instead of enforcing the(ir) own laws… for 0.5% of teens!
How come cigarettes aren’t banned? Alcohol? Medical drugs? I’m sure there are plenty of accidents with children, even very young children, eating and taking medicine that they weren’t supposed to have access to… and with far more dire consequences than you could ever get from vaping regular nicotine e-liquid from an electronic vaping device.
Let’s ban medicine then, right?
You’re thinking that I can’t compare medicine and vaping, right?
III. Vaping Is A Widely Recognized Healthier Alternative To Smoking.
What do you think vaping is for the millions of (ex-)smokers who would probably have died from smoking and that succeeded in quitting only thanks to vaping?
*[NB: Public Health England is the equivalent of the CDC (Center of Disease Control) + FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the US. It’s “an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, and a distinct organization with operational autonomy. (They) provide government, local government, the NHS, Parliament, industry and the public with evidence-based professional, scientific expertise and support.
(They) employ 5,500 staff (full-time equivalent), mostly scientists, researchers and public health professionals.
(They) have 8 local centres, plus an integrated region and centre for London, and 4 regions (north of England, south of England, Midlands and east of England, and London).”]
“We need to reassure smokers that switching to an e-cigarette would be much less harmful than smoking. This demonstration highlights the devastating harms caused by every cigarette and helps people see that vaping is likely to pose only a fraction of the risk.”
What demonstration are they speaking about you might ask?
This demonstration that vaping is obviously a lot less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Though, the real benefits of vaping vs. smoking are invisible but so important and numerous.
Now, maybe you may be able to understand why vaping products are sold in HOSPITALS in the UK? Yes, in hospitals.
Don’t believe me? Here:
ECIGWIZARD, a company selling vaping products and e-liquids, just opened a couple of vape shops in hospitals in Birmingham and West Bromwich, UK. They are based at Sandwell and City Hospitals and are run by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust (SWBH).
Also, you may now understand why the UK government and most European countries’ governments encourage people to vape.
So, all the anti-vaping propagenda (no, it’s not a typo) in the US and some other countries around the world is ridiculous and disgusting. And, on its own, PROVES that these bans have nothing to do with young people potentially getting addicted to nicotine. Not even the supposed, mostly invented out of thin air, harm that could be caused by e-cigarettes.
How many deaths, worldwide caused by smoking? Around 7, yes SEVEN MILLIONS!
These are 2016 numbers. Hopefully they have decreased thanks to millions more people vaping. [Though, as the total world’s population has increased, we may not see how vaping helped by only comparing raw numbers.]
How many caused by vaping regular, regulated nicotine e-liquid?
So far, ZERO. Not a single death d
irectly related to vaping (regular, regulated nicotine e-liquid) has been identified and confirmed in the US or elsewhere. NONE.
Yes, you may be in disbelief after this last statement but this is true.
At least 80% of the “lung illnesses” (lungs injuries would be a more appropriate term) people (and young adults) have been linked to illegal black-market THC (a chemical and drug found in the Marijuana plant) cartridges, NOT vaping regular nicotine e-liquids.
And the CDC is slowly but surely admitting that those who declared to never have tried these illegal drug cartridges did, in fact, tested positive for THC.
Still, and again, they’re “logical” conclusion is to, of course, keep selling cigarettes and ban vaping instead.
This truly is disgusting.
Anyway, I digress… a lot… Sorry.
Let’s come back to the actual studies you’re here for and wrap this up.
I. So, why do US studies and some UK studies seem to show that a Teen Vaping Gateway To Smoking exist?
She actually addresses the fact that some studies in the US and UK seem to show that some teens tried a vaping device before they tried a cigarette. And that those who tried a vaping device as a first nicotine product are more likely to try a cigarette and even smoke later on.
She has 2 major counter-arguments to these studies:
A. The methodology.
I’ve discussed this in my previous article on the “Teen Vaping Gateway To Smoking” but, briefly, in these studies, is considered a smoker or a vaper, a teen that only has tried to vape or smoke once in the past month. That is sometimes enough for the authors of these studies to qualify these teens as vapers/smokers.
They also emphasize the “ever user of” instead of the “regular users of” cigarettes/vaping devices.
This, and obviously, also artificially increases the numbers. At the very least, they focus on what are objectively less relevant and meaningful data points/numbers to try and prove their claim(s).
B. The lack of proof for causality and the concept of Common Liability.
These US and UK studies don’t show a causal role between vaping first and the fact that some teens that have tried a vaping device, even just once, happen to become “smokers” later one.
This means that the fact that a youngster happens to try an e-cig before to become a smoker doesn’t mean it’s the reason s/he became a smoker.
There can be plenty of factors leading to this situation.
There’s a theory, that was created because of the lack of “explanatory power, empirical support and utility” of the Gateway Theory.
This other theory she talks about is called: Common Liability Theory.
Simply put, someone may end up being a smoker (or addict) anyway regardless of which particular product s/he tried first (this would be the Gateway Theory).
Instead and according to the Common Liability Hypothesis, it could happen because of different factors linked to his/her own behavior (higher propension to take risks than other people, curiosity to try new things, defiance to authority etc…) but also her/his environment (essentially, if people around her/him smoke).
So, these studies have questionable methodology and weak correlations between vaping and smoking. But they still claim their gateway theory to be true, of course.
– More, a colleague of her took an interest in the opposite path that could take teens. The anti-gateway, if you will:
Are some/many young people smoking (first or regularly) transitioning to vaping, instead?
And the answer is of course, yes. The study is still underway.
II. Last, Her Conclusions:
Professor Bauld concludes that, in the UK, and she’s confident in Europe too (because of the other non-UK, European studies she analyzed):
1. “there’s no evidence that the growing prevalence of e-cigarettes has led to increased experimentation with smoking in young people”
2. “Some evidence that young people’s perception against smoking have hardened rather than softened.”
3. Thus, “No reason to believe that vaping re-normalizes smoking” (paraphrasing here but faithful to the substance)
So, as I think this article is long enough, now. This is its conclusion.
It’s as simple as that.
I’ve already debunked the most famous and recent study on the Teen Vaping Gateway To Smoking Theory but Prof. Linda Blaun did a job that I could never do and it should be shared, widely.
It took her a lot of work toassemble and present this data as well as analyze the US studies claiming there was.
So, despite almost baseless but constant claims that vaping leads to smoking or, put differently, that vaping is a gateway to smoking, it’s simply not true (in the UK and Europe, at least). In fact, the opposite may be true. It is for the millions of adults around the world that did quit smoking thanks to vaping.
Almost exclusively young people that are ALREADY smoking will begin to regularly vape.
0.5% or less of those who never smoked start vaping (at least once a week).
This means that vaping comes after smoking. There are almost no (young or not) vapers than transition from vaping to smoking since they almost all (99%) come from smoking.
And, as according to the Public England Health studies, vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking, yes, the goal, in Europe at least, is to push people away from smoking and toward vaping.
It’s the kind of gateway we WANT to happen. And how smoking would lead to vaping. Not the other way around.
Vaping doesn’t create more smokers. All data and studies, not only the one discussed above, show the opposite. In countries were vaping exist, the number of smokers decrease very significantly. Again, proving there’s no gateway.
Again, if you didn’t read my previous article on this topic: Does Vaping Lead To smoking? Teen Vaping Gateway To Smoking Debunked, you should. 😉
Until next time,
And don’t forget to…
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