New research involving 12,000 U.S. adolescents was published Monday in the medical journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research. The study concluded that “E-cigarette use does not appear to be associated with current, continued smoking,” opposing a 2018 analysis from the University of California, San Francisco, stating “using e-cigarettes was positively and independently associated with progression to current established smoking.”

In a different approach to creating a more accurate outcome, the researchers’ focal point revolved around specific data analysis that factored in the students’ demographics, environmental factors, amount of exposure to drugs, and personal behavior. The results were apparent that vaping alone doesn’t promote using traditional cigarettes, rather it was dependent on the risk factors for tobacco use.

The study’s lead author, Arielle S. Selya, explains that those who are willing to try vaping may just be more similar to those who tend to smoke and not that it will directly transition them to becoming future cigarette smokers. Selya also expressed concern that the fear and panic over vaping or strict regulation of e-cigs may cause teens to turn to other nicotine products or obtainable e-cig substances that could be more harmful.

“We have to ask what the effect of regulating e-cigarettes would be… at a minimum, existing policies should be continuously re-evaluated as more research comes out.”

Arielle S. Selya, Ph.D.

Key Points:

  • Contrary to previous studies, those who are willing to vape or are exposed to e-cigs are not at risk of becoming a smoker.
  • When including personal attributes, results show that becoming a future smoker depends on the shared risk factor for tobacco use.
  • E-cig regulations should be adjusted and considered as new research is developed.