The “Gateway” effect, insisting that vaping will lead to smoking has been disproven time and time again. Study after study has attempted to hammer the point, yet each one has been torn to pieces as inaccurate junk within moments of anyone other than the authors reading them. Each headline created as they are released however, lingers like a festering wound in a dogs hind quarters.
Over the course of the next few minutes we will take a quick look at the premise of these studies and the reasoning behind why the theory is not only asinine, but actually toxic to public health in general.
The Basis of The “Gateway Theory”
In a nutshell, theorists have tried to provide evidence that vaping leads to smoking. Their case is that using e-cigarettes will eventually lead people to regular tobacco use, especially among teenagers and impressionable youth. The latest study to hit our screens has been brought to us by The Children’s Health Study, (please make sure that you have no sharp objects or family heirlooms that you do not wish to break nearby while reading it) and draws the following conclusion:
E-cigarette use in never-smoking youth may increase risk of subsequent initiation of cigarettes and other combustible products during the transition to adulthood when the purchase of tobacco products becomes legal. Stronger associations in participants with no intention of smoking suggests that e-cigarette use was not simply a marker for individuals who would have gone on to smoke regardless of e-cigarette use.
The Problems With The Gateway Theory
If, like the majority of journalists and law makers, you had dug only this far into the study, you may form the belief that vaping could be harmful. However, they have followed a tried and tested methodology within the study that shows the whole paper is nothing more than a dog and pony show. This “paper” and many like it can be dismissed easily, especially when you look at Clive Bates rebuttal and Dr. Michael Siegel’s 10 cents worth.
Baseline e-cigarette use was defined as ever having taken even one puff of an e-cigarette. And, smoking initiation was similarly defined as ever having taken even one puff of a cigarette. So the study did not document that even one subject in the study was ever a regular vaper. It is entirely possible (and in fact likely) that the majority of these kids had experimented with e-cigarettes, failed to become vapers, and then turned to regular cigarettes. In fact, it’s entirely possible that had these kids been able to stick with vaping, they would never have become smokers.
As Dr. Siegel points out, within the actually study the theorists classify a vaper as a person who has taken a single puff on an e-cigarette, which among an age group renowned for experimentation is ludicrous and disingenuous.
Why Is It Dangerous
Even though the concept was discredited by the British Government and inadvertently over turned by the Centers for Disease Control, by continuing to put this kind of information into the public realm, these so-called scientists are one of the primary sources for anti vaping propaganda. Walk into any municipal hearing or congressional committee, the primary reason for removing vapor products from the hands of adults is to prevent children from picking up any bad habits in the future. Even as the CDC celebrates the greatest drop in smoking rates in over 20 years, bring the smoking rates to the lowest on record, these people are pushing the notion that smoking rates are on the rise. It is this kind of irresponsible reporting that will remove what has been hailed as “the greatest breakthrough in public health” from the hands of the very people who need it.