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The report titled Young People’s Use of E-Cigarettes across the United Kingdom: Findings from Five Surveys 2015–2017, was published earlier this month in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Among the authors we find renowned names in public health such as Linda Bauld who is a Professor of Health Policy at the Institute for Social Marketing at University of Stirling, and Deborah Arnott who is the CEO of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

Bauld, who was the lead study author, said: “Recent studies have generated alarming headlines that e-cigarettes are leading to smoking. Our analysis of the latest surveys from all parts of the United Kingdom, involving thousands of teenagers shows clearly that for those teens who don’t smoke, e-cig experimentation is simply not translating into regular use.”

“Our study also shows that smoking rates in young people are continuing to decline. Future studies on this subject need to continue to monitor both experimentation and regular use of e-cigarettes and take into account trends in tobacco use if we are to provide the public with accurate information,” she added.

“Recent studies have generated alarming headlines that e-cigarettes are leading to smoking. Our analysis of the latest surveys from all parts of the United Kingdom, involving thousands of teenagers shows clearly that for those teens who don’t smoke, e-cig experimentation is simply not translating into regular use.” Linda Bauld, Lead Study Author

A significant collective effort

This collective study clearly indicates that despite the fact that young adults try and experiment with e-cigarettes, most of the time this behaviour does not evolve into regular use. In Fact regular e-cigarette use amongst young adults who have never smoked, remains significantly low.
The data was collected from surveys by five major institutions; The Youth Tobacco Policy Survey, the Schools Health Research Network Wales survey, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), Smokefree Great Britain-Youth Surveys, and the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey. This equated to compiling figures about ‘ever’ and ‘regular’ e-cigarette and tobacco use among 60,000 adolescents, aged 11–16 year across the UK.

“For 2015/16 data for 11–16 year olds: ever smoking ranged from 11% to 20%; regular (at least weekly) smoking between 1% and 4%; ever use of e-cigarettes 7% to 18%; regular (at least weekly) use 1% to 3%; among never smokers, ever e-cigarette use ranged from 4% to 10% with regular use between 0.1% and 0.5%; among regular smokers, ever e-cigarette use ranged from 67% to 92% and regular use 7% to 38%. ASH surveys showed a rise in the prevalence of ever use of e-cigarettes from 7% (2016) to 11% (2017) but prevalence of regular use did not change remaining at 1%.” read the study abstract.

E-cig use amongst teens remains low

This collective report is very significant in indicating that in line with what other studies have found, these surveys clearly suggest that despite the fact that young adults try and experiment with electronic cigarettes or vaping devices, most of the time this behaviour does not evolve into regular use. In Fact regular e-cigarette use amongst young adults who have never smoked, remains significantly low.

“This pattern was consistent across different surveys from around the UK and suggests that, for now, experimentation with e-cigarettes does not necessarily translate into regular use, particularly among never smokers,” said the study authors.

More CDC data dispelling infamous “Gateway Theory”

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