Will Young Smokers Increase Because of Vaping?

young smokers

At the height of the pandemic, and even before that, we have seen a rapid rise in people given up smoking due to health concerns. The damage it does to the body is clear from the millions dying from tobacco use each year. Nevertheless, there has been a concern among the public. Could vaping misinformation be a cause for that number to gradually increase again? Especially among young smokers who are curious about both smoking and/or vaping. Despite disapproving eyes on the vaping industry, we can see from organisations like Public Health England that this is a powerful cessation tool to help smokers quit. It can include nicotine to reduce that addiction but also contains less harmful benefits, various studies suggest.

Across the Atlantic, statistics show from 2015 that 32% of the French public smoked cigarettes regularly. However, could that figure be creeping back up in a negative way because of vaping? Still fairly new on the scene in France, there are clear reasons for vaping to exist and to help gradually give up smoking is one of them. For teenagers, the concern is trying to reduce the number of those inhaling cigarette toxins.

Studying Young Smokers and Vapers in France

In 2019, a study took place in Paris by several leading scientists. They investigated vaping and its impact on reducing smoking. Their studies highlight:

  • For people who previously smoked at least 100 cigarettes, or now do so daily, any teenager switching to e-cigarettes is less likely to join the smoking community at 17 years of age.
  • Both smoking and vaping is equally popular among teenagers
  • The results from point one remained the same even if e-cigarettes came before or after smoking.

Through their studies looking at teenagers during their peak years of curiosity, the scientists discovered that a mixture of young people did not want to switch or continue smoking if they also tried vaping.

New Study Finds Similar Results

Fast forward to 2020 and scientists led by Stephane Legleye at the Paris-Sud university reached the same verdict. They realised together how e-cigarettes have more of a positive effect than negative on reducing the consumption of tobacco:

“Overall, experimenting with e-cigarette first (as opposed to tobacco first) was associated with a reduction in the risk of daily tobacco smoking by the age of 17-18. The association varied with age at experimentation, and early age of experimentation actually increased the risk. 

National specificities as to the stage in the tobacco/e-cigarette epidemic and their regulation could play a role in the fact that many adolescents experimenting first with e-cigarette never became tobacco experimenters and that the association with daily smoking was negative even among tobacco experimenters.”

This is based on a study looking at 24,111 teenagers between the ages of 17 and 18.5. Looking at the use of both smoking and vaping, the issue is wide ranging:

  1. Could vaping lead to a transition back to smoking?
  2. Is the way businesses market vaping an issue and enticing teenagers?
  3. More long-term research and results is still the challenge that needs addressing.

Despite fears in the US that vaping leads to cigarette smoking and nicotine consumption, studies in France differ. They highlight that this is not the case. Plus the defence of vaping from Public Health England suggest e-cigarettes are less dangerous to teenagers. It’s a question of who you believe is right, with the harm of inhaling cigarettes understood on a global scale. Meanwhile, we still need more research from the vaping industry