Vaping And The Gateway Myth
The Consumer Choice Center (1) and the World Vaper’s Alliance (2) have reiterated that vaping is “proven to be 95% less harmful than smoking” in a document that addresses the subject of “The Gateway Myth” (3). It makes for a compelling read that covers almost all of what we currently know about the use of electronic cigarettes.
The report begins by talking about how the “innovative nature” of e-cigs has contributed to its success and popularity, but it is this newness and reliance on technology that has driven a global backlash.
The problem, borne of confusion and ignorance about this new development, now perpetuates because it threatens the jobs of tobacco controllers if there’s no tobacco left to control. Consequently, they talk about the fear of vaping leading people into a smoking habit.
“This [report] aims to provide a comprehensive set of arguments of why vaping is a
gateway out of smoking and not a path towards it.”
It sets out an overview of why the concept of a gateway effect is a fallacy:
- The essence of e-cigarettes is different from that of conventional cigarettes, and their purpose is to serve as a safer alternative that reduces health-associated risks
- Nicotine, also found in e-cigarettes and used in conventional nicotine replacement therapy, doesn’t increase the risk of serious illnesses (heart attack, stroke) or mortality
- Vaping does help adult smokers quit: every 1 per cent rise in use of e-cigs is associated with a 0.06% increase in the quit success rate
- Youth use of e-cigarettes is rare and most users are current or former smokers
- Flavours are a crucial part of cessation through vaping: vapers who use flavours are 2.3 times more likely to quit smoking than those using tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes
The authors write: “One of the biggest mistakes policymakers often make is regulating something they don’t fully understand and doing so before there is an understanding of the impact. This has been obvious in the case of vaping.”
What is all-too frequently ignored is that tobacco cigarettes produce over 7,000 chemical compounds and tar when burnt, which leads to a devastating burden placed on societies and health services.
The authors recommend:
- Strongly commit to the general concept of harm reduction
- We need an on-ramp for harm reduction that is vaping: endorse e-cigarettes as an effective tool to help smokers move to a safer alt consume nicotine and eventually quit if they desire to do so
- Guarantee access to vaping products for adults: affordability and variety must be ensured
- Allow advertising of e-cigarettes in print, on television and radio to inform current smokers better of the harm-reducing potential of vaping nicotine, to reduce illicit trade and prevent adolescents from turning to the black market and conversely take up vaping
- The Consumer Choice Center – https://consumerchoicecenter.org/
- World Vaper’s Alliance – https://worldvapersalliance.com/
- Vaping And The Gateway Myth – https://consumerchoicecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Vaping_and_the_Gateway_Myth.pdf