The kids are alright: Ecigarettes "aren't a gateway to smoking" for young people

Emma Haslett
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Young people would rather use fruit-flavoured ecigarettes than smoke traditional cigarettes (Source: Getty)

Vaping isn't a "gateway" to smoking for the yoof, a new study has found - suggesting fears over the effects of ecigarettes are misplaced.

Read more: A smoking ban in pub beer gardens? Stop persecuting smokers

The study, by anti-smoking charity Ash, found there was "no evidence" young people were being enticed towards real-life fags by ecigarettes, with smoking among 11-15 year-olds hitting an all-time low of three per cent in 2014.

And while the number of 11-18 year-olds experimenting with ecigarettes - those who said they'd tried vaping "once or twice" - increased from four per cent in 2013 to 10 per cent in 2015, just 2.4 per cent were using them "regularly", ie. once a month.

Perhaps it's the flavour turning the nation's youth away from traditional cigarettes: 42 per cent of "regular" users aged under 18 said fruit was their favourite flavour, with just 23 per cent preferring tobacco. Menthol was next, with 13 per cent of the vote, while "no flavour" and tobacco menthol brought up the rear, with six per cent each.

But the report also showed playground rumours about ecigarettes are rife: the proportion of 11-18 year olds believing ecigarettes are just as harmful as traditional cigarettes increased from 11 per cent in 2013 to 21 per cent in 2015.

“These results should reassure the public that electronic cigarettes are not linked with any rise in young people smoking," said Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Ash.
"Although more young people are trying electronic cigarettes and many more young people are aware of them, this has not led to widespread regular use or an increase in smoking.”

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