Electronic cigarettes seem to be getting a lot of publicity these days. Some of it is positive and some negative. The United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put out a warning regarding electronic cigarettes. Their fear is that e-cigs could be a gateway for teens to become addicted to smoking. Although this may be the fear of many, a recent study seems to indicate that e-cigarettes are not a gateway to tobacco cigarettes.
This study was conducted in part by Theodore Wagner, an assistant professor of general and community paediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. The study was comprised of 1,300 college aged students with an average age of 19 years old. A survey concerning past and present tobacco use was conducted with all participants. Only 3.2 percent of the participants surveyed stated that their first nicotine products had been electronic cigarettes. Of those 3.2 percent, most were not using any type of nicotine or tobacco products at the time of the survey. When Wagner presented the results of the study to the American Association for Cancer Research, he concluded that according to this study there was no evidence that electronic cigarettes were a gateway to traditional tobacco smoking.
This finding may be a little confusing to people in light of the CDC’s warning. While it is true that more teens are trying e-cigs these days, the actual number of teens stating that they regularly use electronic cigarettes is only 2.1 percent. A large part, around 75 percent, of the 2.1 percent also use tobacco cigarettes. The question is, do e-cigs lead to tobacco cigarettes or is it the other way around? While some health experts are leaning in the direction that e-cigs lead to tobacco cigarettes, this new study seems to show that this is just not the case.
Some people worry about how easily accessible electronic cigarettes have become. At this point, there are no federal laws regarding the legal age for purchasing electronic cigarettes. Although there are laws in place in many states to block the sale of e-cigs to minors, one can always go online and buy them. For this reason, they argue that there should be stricter regulations for e-cigarettes.
Wagener did not ignore these concerns and encouraged parents to take an active role in talking to their children about e-cigarettes. Although his research seems to indicate that teens turn to e-cigs more often after starting traditional tobacco cigarettes, it should still be mentioned that they are not 100-percent safe. Parents need to be talking to their teens about the risks of nicotine and carcinogens found in electronic cigarettes.
In conclusion, Wagner’s study did not show electronic cigarettes to be a gateway to tobacco smoking. It seems to show that e-cigarettes were usually tried after tobacco cigarettes. While those who tried e-cigarettes first did not tend to move on to tobacco cigarettes.