Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
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a e cig story imageSeptember 6 2017

Image caption: “Prevalence of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use in teenagers, UK surveys 2015/2016. Notes: Youth Tobacco Policy Survey (YTPS), United Kingdom, n = 1213 (2016); Action on Smoking and Health Smokefree Great Britain-Youth Survey n = 1205 (2016); Schools Health Research Network (SHRN), Wales, n = 32,479 (11 to 16 year olds in 2015); and, Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS), n = 13,607 (13 year olds in 2015), n = 11,697 (15 year olds in 2015). Base for regular smokers in YTPS and ASH Smokefree GB is less than 50.

“Source: L Bauld et al. ‘Young People’s Use of E-Cigarettes across the United Kingdom: Findings from Five Surveys 2015–2017’. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(9), 973.”

There is no evidence that e-cigarette use is leading young people into smoking, a new study has concluded. 

For 2015-16, data for 11–16 year olds shows that:

  • those indicating they had ever smoking ranged from 11% to 20%;
  • those regularly smoking (at least weekly) ranged between 1% and 4%;
  • ‘ever use’ of e-cigarettes was 7% to 18%;
  • regular use of e-cigarettes (at least weekly) was 1% to 3%;

In addition

  • among never smokers, ever e-cigarette use ranged from 4% to 10% with regular use between 0.1% and 0.5%;
  • among regular smokers, ever e-cigarette use ranged from 67% to 92% and regular use 7% to 38%.

“In summary, surveys across the UK show a consistent pattern: most e-cigarette experimentation does not turn into regular use, and levels of regular use in young people who have never smoked remain very low,” concluded the researchers.

The study is an analysis of five large-scale surveys conducted in the period 2015-17 involving over 60,000 11-16 year-olds. It was a collaboration between UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, Public Health England, Action on Smoking and Health, and the DECIPHer Centre at the University of Cardiff.

Graham Moore, Deputy Director, DECIPHer, said: “Few people would argue that e-cigarette use in young people should be encouraged. However, these surveys consistently show that the rapid growth in experimentation with e-cigarettes among young people throughout the UK has so far not resulted in widespread regular use among non-smokers.

“Taken alongside our other recent analyses which suggest that among young people who use both e-cigarettes and tobacco, tobacco nearly always comes first, concerns that e-cigarettes are leading large numbers of young people into addiction and tobacco use increasingly seem to be implausible.”

Commenting on the findings, Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s director of prevention, said: “Smoking continues to be the biggest preventable cause of cancer, so it’s vital we continue to investigate ways to reduce the number of people addicted to tobacco. E-cigarettes have the potential to help achieve this.”

Links:
L Bauld et al. ‘Young People’s Use of E-Cigarettes across the United Kingdom: Findings from Five Surveys 2015–2017’. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(9), 973.        
ASH announcement         
Cancer Research UK comment    

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