A new study is demolishing one of the biggest arguments against electronic cigarettes to date. The study found that out of 1,300 college students only 43 popped their nicotine cherry (that is, used nicotine for the first time) with electronic cigarettes. Of that 43, only one went on to smoke tobacco cigarettes.
This means only a single individual out of 1,300 walked the path that might suggest gateway use. It seems likely that the individual would have ended up smoking regardless of the role e-cigs might have played in their first nicotine experience.
If anything, this suggests that electronic cigarette use allowed individuals to experiment with nicotine without getting hooked. Normally smoking rates around college age range from 15-20 percent. A random sampling of 43 college students would normally show 6 to 9 smokers. Out of this group of 43, only 1 (or 2.3%) smoker turned up.
According to one of the researchers, “It didn’t seem as though [electronic cigarettes] really proved to be a gateway to anything.” A vast majority the 43 individuals reported not currently using any kind of nicotine product regularly.
You can read more about the study right here.
The findings from the study were announced at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Although they require undergoing a review process before they can be accepted, the preliminary results look promising. Not only does it appear electronic cigarettes don’t serve as a gateway, they also don’t appear to ensnare users in the powerful grip of nicotine addiction in the way that tobacco cigarettes do.
Claims about the gateway effects of drugs and dangerous products have been used in scare tactics for a long time. Its much easier to claim that one thing might lead to another than to prove that it doesn’t. There’s more on the gateway effect right here.
We’ll have more on this study once it get’s published.