There is no evidence that e-cigarettes encourage children to take up smoking, a new study from Public Health England (PHE) and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has revealed.
ASH surveyed more than 4,000 children between the ages of 11 and 18 regarding their attitudes to smoking and vaping. It found that 90 per cent of people who use e-cigs, whether on a regular or occasional basis, already smoke, or have done in the past. Moreover, the vast majority of young people (91 per cent) have never tried an e-cig and only two per cent of children who've never tried tobacco have used an e-cig before.
None of the study's participants who used e-cigs on a regular basis were 'never-smokers'. Only one per cent of children expressed an interest in trying the devices in the future, the rest were unsure.
Speaking to nursinginpractice.com, Hazel Cheeseman, ASH's director of policy, said even if children who have never smoked start using e-cigarettes, it would be difficult to know whether they would have taken up smoking anyway.
“There are concerns that the widespread use of electronic cigarettes might influence youth behaviour and lead them towards smoking,” she stated. “But this study should reassure the public that we don't have the evidence for that at the moment. The use in young people is very low – there's a growing level of experimentation but it doesn't seem to be translating into large numbers of people using them.”
Ms Cheeseman has spoken out in favour of e-cigs before, as she said they are “considerably less harmful” than traditional cigarettes in response to the World Health Organisation's (WHO's) call to ban the use of the devices indoors, reports huffingtonpost.co.uk.