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Study Proves Youth Vaping No Gateway To Smoking

New international research shows youth vaping is leading adolescents away from smoking, not towards it. The ‘reverse gateway’ revelation is timely given the bill to regulate vaping is now open for submissions, says the Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ).

Published in the Tobacco Control journal, the study was conducted by leading UK researchers who analysed data from the 2014 - 2017 US National Youth Tobacco Survey which involved nearly 40,000 US teenagers.

It found that only one percent of teens who used an e-cigarette first became established smokers, and they were 85% less likely to go on to be established smokers than those who smoked first.

“This research completely kills off any theory that vaping is a gateway to smoking. In fact, researchers describe vaping as having a ‘protective effect’ in reducing the risk of an adolescent becoming a smoker,” says VTANZ spokesperson, Jonathan Devery.

He says two key points are now well established by researchers: Youth vaping is not a gateway to smoking; and there is no vaping epidemic among our youth.

In January it was confirmed that youth vaping rates remain very low in New Zealand with any vaping largely confined to those who have smoked. This followed University of Auckland researchers assessing data from an annual ASH Year 10 survey of over 27,000 students aged 14 and 15.

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Parliament’s Health Select Committee is now calling on the public to make submissions on the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill.

Mr Devery says his association of independent Kiwi vape businesses welcomes strict R18 protection measures. However, it is concerned some of the bill’s restrictions will only lead to more adults smoking, than helping to stop any youth from vaping.

“Vaping has contributed hugely to our record low smoking rates, with vape flavours key to adult smokers successfully quitting tobacco. It makes absolutely no sense to now restrict the availability of popular adult flavours when they’re not leading non-smokers to vaping; very few teenagers are vaping; and vapers are certainly not becoming smokers,” he says.

Mr Devery those wanting to make a submission can do so via the parliamentary website:

Public submissions on the bill to regulate vaping close on Wednesday, 1 April 2020.

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