years, electronic cigarettes have ridden the vapor of
respectability as a technology cigarette smokers can use to
get nicotine while avoiding tobacco’s health risks.
use continues to grow, based in part on their reputation as a
gateway out of the cigarette habit.
that point is not the focus of debate, the discussion has
shifted to concern that e-cigarettes may be enticing teenagers
and young adults to try regular cigarettes.
is the question people are asking: Are e-cigarettes helpful
for people as a gateway out of cigarette smoking, or might
they also be a gateway in?" said Brian A. Primack,
director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research
on Media, Technology and Health and assistant vice chancellor
for research on health and society.
study led by Dr. Primack that used Dartmouth University data
and was published in JAMA Pediatrics, is controversial with
its claims of an association between e-cigarette use among
nonsmoking teenagers and young adults and cigarettes.
694 who were 16 to 26 years old and not cigarette smokers, 16
study participants were using e-cigarettes. By the end of the
study, 11 of those 16 (69 percent) had progressed toward
cigarette smoking. Of the remaining 678 participants who
neither smoked cigarettes nor used e-cigarettes before the
study began, 128 progressed toward smoking cigarettes by study’s
end (19 percent). Based in part on those findings, the study
concludes that e-cigarette smoking independently was
associated with progression to smoking.
"are more amenable, milder and more accessible,"
while standard cigarettes are vilified in the popular media,
Dr. Primack said. "Here’s this thing being touted as
safer — this cool electronic gizmo that you can plug into
your USB port on your computer, that lights up and young
people find it more attractive in the beginning, but with
later transition to cigarettes."
seem illogical, the shift from a trendy electronic appliance
whose delicious juices produce thick, white but odorless and
generally harmless vapors to ill-smelling, bad-tasting
cigarettes that produce acrid smoke and dirty ashes and butts.
e-cigarettes allow users to get used to nicotine, making the
advance to cigarettes much easier.
theory it sounds wonderful for a lifelong smoker having a hard
time quitting and not successful with nicotine patches or gum
to use e-cigarettes that mimic cigarettes and are a good
replacement," Dr. Primack said. But he adds that "it’s
not hard to find testimonials from people who (used
e-cigarettes to) quit smoking. The potential is there for some
people to derive benefit."
of e-cigarettes as gateways out of smoking agree on a sales
ban to minors. But they aren’t lighting up to the
Godshall, executive director of Smokefree Pennsylvania,
reacted angrily to the study, calling its conclusions false,
and claiming it was published only to encourage stricter
regulations of e-cigarettes.
several million daily smokers have become daily vapers, there’s
no evidence vaping has ever been a gateway to smoking for
anyone, and there’s no evidence vaping has created daily
dependence in any nonsmoker," said Godshall.
that only Pennsylvania, Missouri and Maine currently lack a
ban of e-cigarette sales to minors. "The only way to
study the gateway-drug effect is to study daily, or at least
frequent, usage patterns."
opinion is shared by Brad Rodu, a professor of medicine who
heads tobacco harm reduction research at the University of
Louisville. In his blog, he said study findings were distorted
and misinterpreted. One complaint, he said, is the claim that
one mere act of trying a cigarette is considered usage.
"We do know that omitting important information is a
fatal flaw in this study," Dr. Rodu stated.
Snatchko, 33, whom the Post-Gazette interviewed in 2014 about
her use of e-cigarettes to stop smoking, said she has never
returned to cigarettes and continues using snake oil
(coconut-cream-pear flavor) and prestigious pineapple ejuices
containing only a small dose of nicotine. She refrained from
vaping e-cigarettes during her pregnancy September 2014
totally disagree with the idea it’s a gateway to
smoking," she said "You rarely find people who pick
up e-cigarettes who never smoked before.
is a much more pleasant experience. Your clothes don’t
smell, and your sense of taste and smell improve," she
said, noting that she’s running again now that she has quit
smoking. While there’s no current law banning the sale of
e-cigarettes to minors in Pennsylvania, she said, she’s
often carded at vape shops, which have decided on their own to
ban sales to minors.
Moran, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Medical Society, stated
recently that respective House and Senate judiciary committees
have approved bills to ban the sale of e-cigarettes and other
nicotine-delivery methods to minors, the House bill newly
defining nicotine-delivery products and adding them to the
list of tobacco products whose sale to minors would be
University of Michigan Monitoring the Future study and report
on Aug. 31 states that cigarette smoking continues declining
among the nation’s college students, with 13 percent saying
they’d smoked one or more cigarettes in the past 30 days.
That’s down from 14 percent in 2013, the recent high mark
being 31 percent in 1999.
Johnston, the principal investigator of study, attributed this
decline to lower rates of smoking among high school students.
report also says appreciable declines in cigarette smoking are
accompanied by increased usage of other forms of tobacco or
nicotine, including the water pipe known as hookah, with 33
percent of college students having used hookah in the past 12
months. The use of e-cigarettes in the past 30 days stood at
about 10 percent.
it is particularly good news that (college student) smoking
rates have fallen so substantially," Johnston said.