Vaping as a Gateway to Smoking
A common argument against vaping is that it might be taken up by young people or even children, and act as a gateway drug to actual smoking.
Australia’s ABC ran a story about vaping, which examined the growing trend down under, including footage of bars where young adults vaped freely with their drink. As Dr Nicholas Talley said on the show, “It’s quite likely, in my view; many of these young people will then transition to cigarettes themselves.”
This speculation is even flimsier than anecdotal evidence. Talley’s opinion guesses that young people will switch from the new, “cool” (his word) habit, to one that smells worse, costs more and that their peers aren’t engaged in. Speaking for the future behaviour of a demographic is nothing more than uninformed speculation and it can’t be done accurately, and is why academic studies and surveys are held in the first place.
Survey after survey reports that vaping is a viable, less harmful replacement for traditional cigarettes, but nobody is arguing that they be freely available for under-18 year-olds. However, some argue that calls for over-excessive regulation might do more harm than good. As Oliver Kershaw writes for CNN; “It’s about burdens. If you start from the precautionary principal — treat something as bad until proved good — you miss the context that e-cigarettes are designed to replace one of the most dangerous consumer products invented.”
Vaping and Children
Children are frequently cited as a reason to limit products’ range, often based on speculation that only children like sweet flavours, for instance. (This will come as a shock to any adult who has bought a chocolate bar, ordered desert, drank a sweet beer or just about any cocktail.)
Forbes reported on a proposed bill in the US to curb flavoured vaping products. “[Sweet] flavors are direct marketing to children,” says the sponsor of the bill, Councilman Costa Constantinides. “They appeal to children, and we’re taking them out of that market.”
The article argues that such regulation can do more harm than good: “Critics like Constantinides and Sen. Jay Rockefeller are guided by little more than their own idiosyncratic tastes, want to decree which flavours adult vapers may consume, even at the cost of deterring smokers from quitting. They do so in the name of protecting children, even though the risk that experimenting with e-cigarettes will lead to smoking is purely speculative.”
The article then refers to a recent survey to confirm its point: “‘Although there have been claims that EC [electronic cigarettes] is acting as a gateway to smoking in young people,’ notes a recent review in the journal Addiction, ‘the evidence does not support this assertion. Regular use of EC by non-smokers is rare, and no migration from EC to smoking has been documented (let alone whether this occurred in individuals not predisposed to smoking in the first place). The advent of EC has been accompanied by a decrease rather than increase in smoking uptake by children.’”
“In other words, Constantinides and his allies are prepared to sacrifice the interests, and potentially the lives, of verifiably real adults for the sake of hypothetical teenagers. This is where the logic of regulating ‘for the children’ leads”.
We appreciate concern about vaping – and we agree that nothing is more valuable than the health and wellbeing of your children. And we welcome questions and studies. But attacking a marvelous invention that could help millions of smokers to quit is misguided and uninformed.
Vaping is a godsend to many smokers, but it is not for children. Please keep these products out of children’s reach and feel free to contact us or one of our many stockists if you have any questions or concerns.