The aim of World Vape Day is raising awareness about the relative safety of e-cigarettes and their potential as harm reduction and smoking cessation tools. The aim is to encourage smokers who are unable to quit unaided, to switch to the safer alternatives.
“These products have disrupted the standard of harm reduction in tobacco by giving the power back to the smokers to choose the option that works for them and allows them to have agency over their own and their loved one’s health and well-being,” added Loucas.
A bad reputation due to inaccurate claims
Vaping products have in recent years gotten a bad reputation amidst inaccurate claims that they entice teens to start vaping and possibly even smoking. However, in line with previous studies looking into the same relationship, a recent review published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, by Australian academics Colin Mendelsohn and Wayne Hall, debunked the infamous Gateway Theory, which is one of the major arguments that authorities worldwide use to justify bans on nicotine vaping products.
Review authors Colin Mendelsohn and Wayne Hall pointed out that a more plausible explanation as to why young people who vape are more likely to smoke, are personality factors. This means that the teens who experiment with vaping are risk-takers by nature, and are therefore also more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, use cannabis and other substances, as well have unprotected sex. This argument has already been emphasized by other experts in multiple studies.
The Key findings from Mendelsohn and Hall’s study were as follows:
- “Smoking usually precedes vaping. At least 70-85% of teen smokers try vaping after having already started smoking.
- Most vaping by adolescents is experimental and infrequent
- Regular vaping is rare among non-smokers. Regular vaping by non-smokers is generally 1% or less in Australian and international surveys.
- Many adolescent vapers use flavourings only and do not use nicotine. Nicotine addiction is rare in vapers who don’t smoke. In the US, <4% of non-smoking youth who vape have symptoms of nicotine dependence.
- Some adolescents use vaping to quit smoking.
- Youth smoking rates have declined rapidly in the UK and US since the introduction of vaping, making it very unlikely that is increasing youth smoking. It is more likely that vaping is diverting some high-risk teens away from smoking to a safer alternative.”
Scientific data keeps indicating that vapes are significantly safer than cigarettes
Meanwhile, the 2018 independent evidence review, by Public Health England (PHE) had confirmed an earlier report by the agency saying that “e-cigarettes are around 95% safer than combustible cigarettes.””Despite reductions in smoking prevalence, smoking remains the biggest single cause of preventable death and disease and a leading cause of health inequalities. So, alternative nicotine delivery devices that are less harmful could play a crucial role in reducing this health burden,” stated the agency’s latest report, published in March 2020.