Claims that electronic cigarettes are having a gateway effect on youths, and are leading them to smoking have been circulating for a while. However a peak was reached last week when Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, released a report saying that increased e-cigarette use amongst young people is a “major public health concern” and concluded that the use of e-cigarettes is “strongly associated” with the use of other tobacco products.
However the MTF annual survey results which reflect changing teen behaviors and choices in a social media-infused world, are showing us a completely different story.
The 2016 survey finds that from 2015 to 2016, current cigarette smoking among 8th and 10th grade students dropped by the greatest amount in history. For 8th graders, current smoking dropped from 3.6% to 2.6%. Among 10th graders, smoking dropped from 6.3% to 4.9%.
The survey also found that vaping rates in the past 30 days amongst 10th and 12th graders dropped for the second consecutive year, falling from 16.2% to 12.5% among 12th graders and from 14.0% to 11.0% among 10th graders.
Vaping is clearly not leading to smoking
In view of these results Health activist Dr.Michael Siegel pointed out, “It is interesting that the Surgeon General released his report just prior to the release of these new data. Perhaps he realized that once these data came out, his “story” about the scourge of e-cigarettes would be destroyed, so he wanted to get it in so it could have the maximum media impact. Even if it is purely a coincidence, it is going to be difficult to undo the damage caused by the Surgeon General’s report.”
This data makes it is clear that whatever the risks of youth vaping may be, the risk of it leading them to smoking cigarettes is definitely not a relevant one, as if that were the case we would be witnessing an increase in the latter, not a decline. Siegel also pointed out that quite clearly smoking is being “de-normalized, not re-normalized ” as anti-tobacco groups and many health agencies have been claiming”.
E-cigs : gateway to quitting smoking
Ultimately, this unmistakable data makes it clear that in line with what many public health experts have been claiming, it is obvious that the only gateway that vaping is creating is the intended gateway to quitting deadly combustible cigarettes.