Reality check: Study says the more young people vape, the less they smoke

Reality check: Study says the more young people vape, the less they smoke

A new research has shown that vaping or use of e-cigarettes has reduces the number of traditional smokers.

This study was done by Georgetown University Medical Center and was published in the Tobacco Control journal. In the years between 2013 to 2017 they took data from children of grade 10 and 12 and found that with the increased popularity of vaping in 2014, the number of young smokers was decreased twice as much as previous years.

The study author David Levy said.  “This finding is important because it indicates the [U.S.] experienced a major reduction in youth and young adult cigarette smoking when vaping became more popular.”

He also said, “Vaping has had a positive effect on reducing cigarette smoking. On a population level, any effect that vaping may have had act as a gateway to cigarette smoking during the time frame examined appears to be small relative to the effects of vaping leading to less smoking.”

WATCH: Study says e-cigarettes lead many teens to tobacco


But Levy explained to Global News that it’s hard to know whether or not a high schooler who smokes did so because they tried vaping first.

“If they would have smoked anyway, we shouldn’t be as alarmed about vaping, but unfortunately that kind of thing is hard to tease out,” he said.

“So what we’re doing is looking at what’s been happening overall with smoking and vaping.”

“Any effect that vaping may have had act as a gateway to cigarette smoking during the time frame examined appears to be small relative to the effects of vaping leading to less smoking,” he explained.

Levy also explained that “the trends indicate, at worst, that vaping didn’t increase smoking, and at best, they might have drastically reduced smoking.”

He also said more data would be needed on other outside effects — such as government policies or anti-smoking campaigns — so he would like to look over more years before drawing firm conclusions.

Is Vaping better than smoking?

Robert Schwartz, University of Toronto professor and executive director of the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit said that there may be an association but there isn’t strong evidence that smoking was decreased due to increased vaping.

His words were, “They’ve found an association; as vaping has gone up smoking has gone down. That doesn’t mean that vaping has caused a decrease in smoking. Does it mean that people who vape are not picking up smoking? I don’t know if we can actually tell that from this study?”

A 2017 study on 44,000 high school students in Ontario and Alberta showed a strong and robust link between vaping and resulted in tobacco use.

WATCH: E-cigarettes increase risk of heart attacks


Levy explained to Global News that, “If the students had smoked anyway we shouldn’t be too much alarmed about vaping. We are just looking at what’s overall happening with smoking and vaping. Any effect that vaping may have had is small relative to the effects of vaping causing decreased smoking. Vaping has drastically decreased smoking.”

He also said that before drawing any final conclusion more data through government policies or anti-smoking campaigns on outside effects is needed.