One of the biggest and most overwhelming concerns among electronic cigarette opponents is that the liquid nicotine in the devices would hook non-smokers into vaping. The assumption is that the e-cigarette use would serve as a gateway into smoking, or at least into the world of nicotine.
For someone who isn’t a smoker and is concerned about our youth, it must sound reasonable when they make such a case in their heads. For those of us who are smokers or are ex-smokers who have turned to vaping as an alternative, it sounds somewhat ludicrous.
The electronic cigarette movement began as a grassroots effort to help smokers who were looking to make the switch away from traditional tobacco cigarettes. Opponents of the electronic cigarette speak as if it is all one large ploy in an attempt to bring in new smokers via liquid nicotine.
Well, chalk up another victory for those of who are firm believers in these amazing devices. We’re fairly certain there will be more of these types of surveys, and there have already been some in the past, but this latest research coming from the UK reads loud and clear. Non-smokers aren’t vaping.
The Myth Of Non-Smokers Vaping
Smokers and former smokers dominate e-cigarette use, and it really isn’t even a discussion or argument. Research into the habits of 8,800 people (age 16 and up) by the Health Survey for England 2013 found that 29% of smokers were vaping and 6% of ex-smokers also reported e-cigarette use. The biggest number here is the smallest one: a mere 1% of those who had never smoked reported to have tried electronic cigarettes.
1% Of Non Smokers Have Tried E-Cigarettes
These numbers provide backing to the proof we saw in both the survey by Britain’s Office for National Statistics as well as the the e-cigarette survey conducted by the non-profit Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) organization.
Following its publication, there was a statement put out by Deborah Arnott who serves as the chief executive of ASH. “While it is clearly important to continue to monitor both smoking rates and use of electronic cigarettes in adults and children, so far there is no evidence that use of electronic cigarettes is proving to be a gateway into smoking,” said Arnott.
We applaud how frank Arnott was in thoroughly rejecting the theory that e-cigs lure in non-smokers and hook them with liquid nicotine. It just doesn’t seem to hold any water and the data backs up our inherent disbelief that something like that was happening.
Also speaking up about the report was Dr. Penny Woods, the British Lung Foundation’s chief executive. Dr. Woods proclaimed that “Although there is no indication that e-cigarettes are anywhere near as harmful as smoking, we wouldn’t recommend them for children and non-smokers, at least until more research has been conducted into the long-term health impact of sustained use.”
We think we can speak for the entire vaping community when we say we wouldn’t recommend e-cigarette use among non-smokers or children either. Let’s reiterate the fact that this was a movement created to help smokers who were desperately looking for a viable alternative. If everyone simply looked at things through that prism, we think the hope that e-cigs create would far outweigh he oversized concern we have seen as a reaction to them.
Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. The “think about the children” cry has been heard over and over. It is usually not accompanied with any data to support this fear-driven opinion that e-cigarette use will capture non-smokers and make them addicts. For vapers, the survey data only serves to reinforce what we know in our gut. Electronic cigarettes are for smokers and, although there are always some outliers, they aren’t really appealing to non-smokers. This is something that has been proven now in several surveys and we are bound to see more of them. We say bring them on! The more proof that non-smokers aren’t vaping, the better for the vapers community and the industry overall.