Vaping Study Torpedoes Claims E-Cigarettes Are A Gateway To Smoking

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

A recent study on electronic cigarettes shows alarmism over youth vaping and fears about the health impacts of the devices are largely misplaced.

The study released in May by the Spanish vaping association Anesvap confirms recent research in the U.S. showing declines in youth vaping. It also backs up evidence showing vaping is primarily a tool used by current or former smokers to reduce harm to themselves and those around them. It showed roughly 90 percent of vapers switched to the devices in an effort to become healthier, reports Vaping Post.

The study showed 96 percent of respondents already smoked before they started using e-cigarettes and roughly 90 percent of those respondents managed to quit smoking with the device. It also showed the overwhelming majority said they experienced notable improvements in their health after switching to vaping.

The survey included 9,721 people from 32 countries, though roughly half of respondents were from Spain. The estimated vaping population in Spain is roughly 300,000 people — 99.6 percent of respondents identified as adults. The study is in line with recent research in the U.S. showing declines in youth vaping.

A survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released June 15 revealed after a rapid increase in youth vaping between 2011 and 2015, teens are now giving up the habit. The number of middle school and high school students who use a vaping device dropped from 3 million to 2.2 million in 2016.

The Anesvap study also confirms that offering a wide variety of flavors, something activists are trying to ban in the U.S., is essential to helping adult smokers transition to vaping. San Francisco recently became the first city to ban the sale of vaping flavors other than tobacco and officials in New Jersey are trying to follow suit.

Vaping advocates are blasting the policy shifts in New Jersey and California, arguing flavors help smokers trying to quit, “disconnect from the taste of tobacco.”

“Anti-vaping activists have been cynical and unscrupulous in using flavors to argue for regulations that would in theory protect kids, but would in reality harm everyone by making the products less appealing as alternatives to smoking,” Clive Bates, public health expert and director of Counterfactual Consulting, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “There is no evidence to support any of their claims about flavors — they are mostly just making statements that sound frightening or evil to sway politicians and to promote a moral panic.”

Many medical professionals actually advise smokers to give the devices a try. A survey published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health last year found 57.8 percent of practicing physicians recommend e-cigarettes to smokers trying to quit, although the push to cast public doubt on vaping may be impacting this number.

Vaping eliminates up to 95 percent of the risk associated with cigarettes because the majority of cancer-causing chemicals are inhaled through smoke.

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Steve Birr

Vice Reporter

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