In today’s society, there is a concern surrounding the use of electronic cigarettes, particular amongst the youth. Understandably, a parent wouldn’t want their child to grow up with a life-time nicotine addiction from a young age and with concerns that e-cigarettes may be fuelling this addiction many parents and health professionals alike have objected to the use of these products. However, with restrictions currently being imposed on sales of these products to minors and research from an interesting study that was conducted in 2013, this may not be the case.
Electronic cigarettes were originally designed to provide smokers with a safer, healthier alternative to smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes and not as a novelty product for those under 18 as many in the past have suggested they have become.
However, it is understandable why these concerns have arisen as e liquid does indeed contain nicotine. Further to this, the number of teens in America who openly admitted they had tried a cigarette rose from 3.3 percent to as much as 6.8 percent and amidst the 2.1 percent who admitted they currently smoked electronic cigarettes, over three-quarters also reported that they smoked traditional cigarettes as well.
It is because of this overlap that growing concerns began to spawn for many American health experts who proposed that these devices are acting as a gateway drug to traditional cigarettes through nicotine addiction.
However, the study below suggests that this may not be the case.
To begin with, researchers surveyed as many as 1,300 college students regarding their nicotine and tobacco intake. The average age used in the study for the participants was 19.
Assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Theodore Wagener, said, “we asked what the first tobacco product they ever tried was and what their current tobacco use looked like”.
The results showed that a total of 43 students said that their first ever nicotine-based product was an electronic cigarette and within that group, only one person responded saying that they moved onto regular cigarettes as a result. In short, the vast majority of those who began using e-cigarettes reported that they were not presently using any tobacco-based products.
In response to the results, Wagener said, “it didn’t seem as though it really proved to be a gateway to anything”.
He added, “most teens and adults who use e-cigarettes seem to be using them to stop smoking or at least to reduce the harm from smoking tobacco”. However, he also went on to say that “parents should be vigilant and talk to their kids and let them know that it is not a 100% safe product.”
Despite recent studies conducted to show that electronic cigarettes are a safer alternative such as one researching the effect of the products on the arteries which showed that the devices did not cause the arteries to stiffen, there is still so much speculation surrounding the use of these products.
However, in light of the situation, the results from this study act as a guideline to show that e-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking traditional cigarettes and further research should be done to support this claim so that parents and health officials alike can rest in the knowledge that their children are safer adopting these products.by