There are a lot of people promoting the fear that–especially for The Children™—
“Vaping might be a Gateway to Smoking”.
A lot of scientists have already examined existing survey data and shown conclusively that there isn’t even a hint of that gateway. No need for me to repeat it. When you think about it, you don’t need rocket science to realise that this “Gateway theory” is utter bollocks. Common sense is enough.
1. Starting vaping
So far the data show that the vast majority of people (any age) who really start vaping are already smokers. The number of never-smokers to start regular vaping (with nicotine) is totally negligible. It might increase slightly in the future when vaping is “normalized”. But for the gateway to smoking this would be just the first step in a series of increasingly improbably events. Moreover: This would only be relevant if the same person never would have started smoking without vaping first.
2. Addiction to nicotine
The evidence is mounting that nicotine alone is about as addictive as caffeine. Only in combination with other active substances in tobacco smoke it may create a strong physical addiction. And even once this smoking addiction exists, it still can be reduced by switching to pure nicotine like I explain in Diminishing Dependency. Professor Fagerström elaborates on the complexities in Dependence on tobacco and nicotine. Several studies about the possible effects of pure nicotine on neurological disorders were done. Obviously the subjects had to be non-smokers. No one developed a nicotine addiction even after six months of treatment: Nicotine, the Wonder Drug?
And look at the study by Etter & Eissenberg: Dependence levels in users of electronic cigarettes, nicotine gums and tobacco cigarettes
We found that e-cigarettes users were less addicted to e-cigarettes than smokers were addicted to tobacco cigarettes and nicotine gum users to the nicotine gum.
So, it seems very unlikely to develop a physical addiction to nicotine this way. Maybe the habit of vaping and enjoying the pleasurable effects of nicotine. Like many people enjoy caffeine. Especially the first cup of coffee or tea in the morning. We physically can do without. Unless there is a real medical reason, why deprive ourselves of this pleasure?
Update: Paradigm shift
Recently some official surveys have begun to query the nicotine content. To the dismay of many proponents of the Gateway myth they showed that the vast majority of the few never-smoking juvenile experimenters prefer to try vaping without nicotine.
Did that shut them up? Of course not. They just changed the tune they sing. Now they claim that these Children™ are getting hooked by “learning smoking behavior”. Superficially this argument may sound reasonable and is often used to justify bans on anything that resembles smoking. For any learning effect to materialize the use must be practised often (several times a week) and regularly. Most surveys don’t provide data on the frequency of use.
But this assumption already is flawed. What they are presumably learning is vaping behavior. And while both have some superficial similarities, there are many subtle differences, that require a host of adaptations in the behavior when switching. -> Haptic Habit
But even if that should happen, the next step is the ultimate killer for that “theory”:
3. Switching from vaping to smoking
The proponents of the theory just postulate this step as if it were likely or even nigh inevitable. But what are their arguments for this, if they even bother to provide any?
“Want more nicotine” — Ridiculous! If you want to vape more nicotine, you simply chose a stronger liquid. Period.
“Use the real thing” — Bovine excrement! Just think about it:
Lots of long term smokers like me (see My Story) switch to vaping. Not just for health reasons or to “quit” anything. Some–like me–simply for the vastly greater pleasure. And we fight vehemently against the people trying to force us back to the inferior experience of smoking. I elaborate on it in Pleasure Principle.
When people like me don’t want to switch back to a habit that was formed in decades, why would any rather hypothetical never smoking vaper be incited to switch to smoking?
Imagine you have inexpensive access to a vast selection of beverages. From fruit juices to exquisite spirits. Now you get the chance to forsake this all and switch to vastly overpriced harsh prohibition-style moonshine. With all the blinding methanol as a bonus. Would you?
Or another fitting analogy from the net: A lot of people today are using mobile phones. How many will be happy to exchange them for land lines and phone booths?
But wait a minute! There is a way to
Create the “Gateway”
How could that happen?
The scaremongering about this hypothetical “Gateway” is used as an argument to make vaping “unattractive for The Children”. Usually they propose doing that by “regulating” flavors. Now, what is the logical consequence if they get their will? They would remove the decisive advantage vaping has on smoking. Remove the pleasure. Destroy the reason why vaping can successfully replace smoking where NRTs usually fail.
This fanatical insistence on crippling vaping against all scientific evidence and common sense makes me wonder. Do they really care about health or “The Children™”? Are there ulterior motives involved? Financial motivations to reduce vaping to the uselessness of NRTs?
Clive Bates: http://www.clivebates.com/?s=gateway
Carl V Phillips: http://antithrlies.com/?s=gateway
Dick Puddlecote: http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.de/search?q=gateway
Christopher Snowdon: http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.de/search?q=gateway
Brad Rodu: http://rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.de/search?q=gateway
Latest numbers from the CDC: http://rodutobaccotruth.blogspot.de/2015/02/memo-to-cdc-tell-whole-truth-about-e.html
Dr. Colin Mendelsohn (NNA AU): http://www.nnalliance.org.au/journals/Are_ECs_a_Gateway_to_Adolescent_Smoking.pdf
Sally Goetsch: Does the Gateway Effect Really Exist?