As more teenagers vape, fewer smoke.
Survey results released last week indicate that use of electronic cigarettes by American teenagers continues to rise, even as their use of conventional cigarettes continues to fall. You might think these diverging trends would give pause to critics who worry that e-cigarettes are “reglamorizing” the old-fashioned, combustible kind. Yet opponents of vaping seem undeterred by reality’s failure to match their predictions. Longtime anti-smoking activist Stanton Glantz recently told USA Today “there’s no question that e-igarettes are a gateway to smoking.”
If e-cigarettes were “a gateway to smoking,” you would expect to see people try them first, then move on to traditional cigarettes. But according to a recent review in the journal Addiction, “Regular use of [e-cigarettes] by non-smokers is rare, and no migration from [e-cigarettes] to smoking has been documented.” Such migration would not necessarily show that vaping encourages smoking, since people predisposed to smoke may be especially likely to try e-cigarettes. But if Glantz were right, this sequence would be common.