Published on January 9th, 2017 | by Jimmy Hafrey
Another study has been released extolling the fact that vaping is a gateway to smoking, and again scientists are coming forward to debunk the claim.
Reason has published an article on a recent study done at the Virginia Commonwealth University appeared to show that students who vaped at the college were 3.4 times more likely to be smoking traditional cigarettes a year later. This statistic alone has been used by anti-vaping scientists to show that vaping does lead to increased smoking usage among young adults and teens. In fact, one of the most passionate anti-vaping advocates, Dr. Stanton Glantz, said that this study was just more confirmation that vaping is a gateway drug.
On his Twitter, Glantz stated that: “The evidence just keeps piling up.”
However, this study did not come to the conclusion that vapers were more likely to turn into smokers at the end of the year; in fact, the study did not find a correlation or any direct evidence between vaping and smoking habits at all.
This is because the full conclusion of the study was that vapers and non-vapers had the same likelihood of beginning to smoke after trying vape products. The study actually was focused on the progression of college students and young adults from vaping to smoking; it did not study the correlation of vaping to smoking as the primary goal.
That has not stopped anti-vaping activists from lauding the study as proving their point that vaping is a gateway to smoking. Many are following in Glantz’s footsteps, cherry-picking aspects of the study’s findings in order to scare the public into believing something that has no basis in science.
However, there is at least one professor that is taking Glantz to task: Dr. Michael Siegel, who is a professor for the department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health, has come out to tell the truth. He stated in an interview that: “Current e-cigarette users at baseline were no more likely to progress to current smoking than young adults who were not using e-cigarettes.”
He goes on to unpack the study’s findings, which clearly state that there is no correlation between vaping and new smokers in this demographic. He stated that: “What this means is that all we know for sure about the young people who Dr. Glantz would have us believe have become smokers because of e-cigarettes is that they have at least once tried a cigarette, but that they have not smoked a cigarette in the past 30 days.”
Siegel also goes on to point out that current vapers, some of whom may have been smokers in the past, have actually stopped smoking within the year that the study was conducted.
The sample for the study was made up of 3,757 students. Of the students involved, only six went from vaping on to smoking as a habit. Alternatively, 20 students who had been smoking transitioned to vaping, and another 45 students who had both vaped and smoked before the trial had moved to just vaping by the end of the study.
So, despite the fact that Glantz and other anti-vaping advocates are trying to push the “vaping is a gateway” agenda, it seems that the science is not on their side.
What’s important to remember is that despite what diehard anti-vaping advocates want you to think, young adults do experiment with smoking and other habits; it’s a part of growing up. It doesn’t mean that habit will stick and young adults might try smoking once or twice and are done with it. Now that vaping is available, less young adults are turning to cigarettes, and that’s a very good thing.