As can occur with the introduction of anything that is new, the introduction of vaping has been met with a mixture of excitement and cautious skepticism. Many health professionals and members of the general public alike have found that vaping is a good alternative to tobacco smoking, especially if they are attempting to reduce or even quit smoking. Others warn that there is insufficient information to determine whether vaping is truly entirely harmless, and some claims have even tried to imply that vaping is just a gateway to traditional smoking–leading more youth down a dangerous path. Fortunately, a new report indicates that this is simply not true.
The Real Relationship Between Vaping and Smoking
A report written by public health researchers from the University of Buffalo and the University of Michigan has indicated that there is actually no evidence to support any claims that vaping is a gateway to traditional smoking, or that it is creating a public health crisis among youth who begin with vaping and switch to traditional smoking. In the report, both Dr. Lynn Kozlowski and Dr. Kenneth Warner review numerous studies that make shocking claims about the dangerous effects of vaping, some of which do so without presenting any sort of evidence. Dr. Kozlowski pointed out that the public has actually become confused about the issue because while national trends fail to indicate that vaping leads to traditional smoking and actual evidence proves that vaping is less dangerous than traditional smoking, alarmist claims generate a more panicked response.
In one study that claimed that vaping leads to traditional smoking, Dr. Kozlowski and Dr. Warner found that all evidence seemed to be to the contrary. In a group of more than thirty-seven hundred freshmen from the Virginia Commonwealth University, a mere six study participants switched from vaping to traditional smoking, while twenty study participants who had begun the study while participating in traditional smoking actually made a permanent switch to vaping. Dr. Warner feels that the intense (and apparently incorrect) focus on how vaping may potentially be risky for youth is likely responsible for discouraging adults from turning to vaping as a way to reduce or eliminate their traditional smoking habits. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report that vaping is unhealthy and dangerous for youth, causing many areas across the country to implement various vaping regulations that mimic the regulations placed upon traditional cigarettes. Vaping supporters argue that this and other reports ignore the important facts that there is no solid evidence to indicate that vaping leads to traditional smoking, vaping is less harmful than traditional smoking, and vaping has actually helped even lifelong smokers thoroughly and permanently kick their dangerous smoking habits. In fact, the United Kingdom recognizes and promotes vaping as a safe alternative to traditional smoking, and one study determined that almost all of the 2.6 million individuals who do vape are either former or current smokers who have used or are using vaping as a means by which to quit fully and permanently.
Finding truth means looking for facts and proven evidence, as opposed to getting thrown by alarming reports that may paint a very different picture than what is actually true. This is definitely true when you are considering vaping, and whether it presents a real danger to youth. In addition to evidence that there is no relationship between vaping and an increase in traditional smoking among youth, there are many other facts to consider, including the facts that:
- Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not contain tar.
- Traditional cigarettes contain over four thousand known chemicals, including forty-three carcinogenic compounds, whereas high-quality e-liquid only contains just a few quality ingredients and can even be found without nicotine.
- E-cigarette vapor consists of flavored steam, compared to the burning paper and tobacco smoke of traditional cigarettes.
It is true that youth are often curious, and therefore may indicate some curiosity toward vaping. However, without evidence that conclusively proves vaping is a gateway to traditional smoking and with plenty of evidence that proves vaping is far safer than traditional smoking, there is actually no real cause for alarm.