E-cigarettes 'do not discourage, and may encourage' young people's smoking

 

Health Reporter

Electronic cigarettes “do not discourage, and may encourage” young people to take up or carry on smoking, researchers in the USA have claimed. 

In findings which come as a direct challenge to manufacturers who market e-cigarettes as quit-smoking aids, the authors of a study into recent smoking habits among American adolescents said their results “suggest that e-cigarette use is aggravating rather than ameliorating the tobacco epidemic among youths”.

E-cigarettes have seen a rapid growth in popularity around the world in recent years. There are estimated to be around 1.3 million users in the UK and figures from the USA’s National Youth Tobacco Survey show that the proportion of 11-to-18-year-olds who had tried them more than doubled from 3.1 per cent in 2011 to 6.5 per cent in 2012.

Researchers from the University of California’s Center for Tobacco Research and Education found that using e-cigarettes was associated with an increased likelihood of “experimenting” with conventional cigarettes, while a large proportion of e-cigarette users were engaging in “dual use” of both electronic and conventional products.

Nearly two thirds of young people who had used e-cigarettes at least once had never been established smokers and just under half of regular e-cigarette users also smoked conventional cigarettes, researchers found.

However, their study did not analyse the reasons that people took up e-cigarettes and manufacturers challenged their conclusions, saying there was no evidence that their products were acting as a “gateway” to smoking.

The study’s authors said that e-cigarettes were now being “aggressively marketed” in the same that tobacco was before in the 1950s and 1960s, including on the television and radio where advertising bans were introduced for conventional cigarettes decades ago.

Last month, British American Tobacco became the first tobacco company to advertise on television in the UK for nearly 50 years, showcasing their own brand of e-cigarettes.

The global market for the products is now worth around $3 billion and big tobacco is increasing its activity a field that had previously been dominated by smaller, specialist manufacturers. A product made by a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco is now available in Boots.

However, they are also coming under tighter restrictions. Under 18s will be banned from buying them in the UK under plans announced by the Government earlier this year and the European Parliament voted last week to ban reusable or refillable devices, which deliver a bigger nicotine hit. Los Angeles City Council, meanwhile, has voted to ban the use of all e-cigarettes in restaurants, bars, clubs and other public spaces. 

E-cigarettes deliver a dose of nicotine, one of the addictive elements of tobacco, but contain far fewer toxins than cigarettes and are considerably less harmful to health. Despite being marketed as smoking cessation aids, they have divided opinion among health campaigners.

The leading UK charity, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has conducted studies which suggest that e-cigarettes do not appear to be undermining attempts to quit smoking among adults, and that children who don’t already smoke are not taking them up in large numbers.

“In the UK adult smokers and recent ex-smokers are far and away the biggest users of electronic cigarettes, what's more these adults seem to be using them to switch from smoking,” an ASH spokesperson said.

Charles Hamshaw-Thomas, a director at E-Lites, a UK e-cigarette brand, said that the company supported a ban on sales and marketing to children but added it was difficult to “square the argument” that e-cigarettes were encouraging young people to smoke when tobacco use was falling.

“Some teenagers use them as a safe way to rebel against their parents, but there is no evidence that children are being lured into tobacco use by e-cigarettes. Quite the reverse,” he said.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Full Stack Software Developer - Javascript

    £18000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Strategic Partnerships Coordinator

    £16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Their research appears at the f...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This exciting startup disruptin...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen