A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine refutes the hypothesis that e-cigarettes serve as a gateway to smoking among nonsmoking youth.
In the study, Dr. Kenneth Warner of the University of Michigan analyzed data from the 2014 Monitoring the Future survey. While previous studies, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have only considered whether youth had used an e-cigarette in the past month, Dr. Warner examined the actual frequency of e-cigarette use during the past month.
The study found that among 12th grade never smokers, 6.5% had used e-cigarettes in the past month. However, only 0.7% of never smokers reported vaping on 20 or more days in the past month. The predominant pattern of e-cigarette use among nonsmoking youth was vaping about once a week or less.
The study concludes that: "Never smokers were highly unlikely to have used e-cigarettes, and of those who did, the majority used e-cigarettes only 1-2 days."
The Rest of the Story
This study should help ease the concerns of those worried about e-cigarettes addicting youth nonsmokers and leading them along a gateway which ends with life-long smoking addiction. Only a very small percentage of nonsmokers were found to be vaping regularly, with only 0.7% vaping at a level that could potentially represent addiction. These findings provide no support for the theory that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking. Combined with the fact that youth smoking has dramatically fallen during a period when e-cigarette use among youth is skyrocketing, these findings refute the gateway hypothesis and show that the claims being made by many anti-smoking groups and agencies, including the CDC, are false.
The rest of the story is that it is time for CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden to retract his statement that: "Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling
with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes." It is high time that the CDC stop lying to the public about this critical issue.