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  • Comprehensive Study Finds No Sign That Vapes Are A Gateway To Smoking

    Author: HealthTimes

Researchers at Queen Mary University, a London-based public research university, have been researching whether or not e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking. In what is now the most comprehensive study of the subject to date, the researchers found no indication that nicotine vapes promote smoking at the population level.

The study, which was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), also found some evidence that vaping products might be accelerating the demise of smoking by competing directly with smoking products, however, the researchers noted that this finding is tentative and that further research is required in order to determine both the effect and the size.

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Professor Peter Hajek, MA PhD, the study's author and the Director of the Health and Lifestyle Research Unit at the Wolfson Institute of Population Health, said that the study's findings "alleviate the concern" that electronic cigarettes promote smoking.

"The results of this study alleviate the concern that access to e-cigarettes and other low-risk nicotine products promote smoking. There is no sign of that, and there are some signs that they in fact compete against cigarettes, but more data over a longer time period are needed to determine the size of this effect."

The researchers behind the study compared the progression of e-cigarette use and sales with smoking rates and cigarette sales in countries where current vape regulations differ but smoking trajectories are historically similar. This aspect of the research included data from the United Kingdom and the United States, which was compared to data from Australia. While the sale of nicotine-containing vaping products is banned without a prescription in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States have no such ban and do not require a prescription to purchase nicotine vaping products.

The prevalence of smoking has declined more slowly in Australia than in the United Kingdom. Among those in lower socioeconomic groups and young people, smoking prevalence has declined more slowly in Australia than in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

While cigarette sales in Australia and the United Kingdom have been declining for years, they have declined more slowly in Australia than they have in the United Kingdom.

The study also found that cigarette sales in Japan decreased significantly while the sale of heat-not-burn tobacco products accelerated.

The observational study focused on the effects that reduced-risk nicotine delivery products, such as e-cigarettes and oral nicotine pouches, have on cigarette sales and smoking prevalence. While the study is the largest of its kind to date, the researchers behind it note that the currently available data is limited and that a more informative assessment will be made possible by the emergence of further sales and prevalence data.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research, whose mission is to "improve the health and wealth of the nation through research", is the British government's major funder of public health, clinical, translational and social care research. The NIHR is part of the Department of Health and Social Care.

The study's findings come in stark contrast to the results of other studies and the views of some academics, including Professor Emily Banks of the Australian National University, who said that the fear of "widespread vaping" reversing Australia's "amazing progress" in reducing youth smoking rates is one of public health's "biggest worries" at this time. Banks said that studies have shown vapers to be three times more likely to start smoking than non-vapers.

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