The Millennial Cohort Study on Underage Vaping
A recent US study which suggests vaping could ‘entrench’ smoking in young people has been misleading the vape reporting sector due to contextual failure.
The study, cited by publications such as the Daily Mirror, was conducted by Pennsylvania State University and Purdue University. Although we found multiple UK news sources citing this study, we could not find a single link to the material in question. When we did a deep dive into the research ourselves, we eventually tracked it down based on the author, Dr Jeremy Staff. Staff has worked with Pennsylvania University since 2004. We do need to beg the question of how a professor based in America can gather appropriate factual data about UK teens. However, let’s examine the study in greater detail, which UK news sources seem reluctant to do.
The study examined participants from age groups 11, 14, and 17. Around 10,625 youths were assessed in infancy, having been infants from 2000 to 2002. The results found that those who had vaped at 14 were triply likely to take up smoking by 17. There is no mention of the word ‘entrenched’.
The conclusion of the study found that e-cigarette use at 14 increased the odds of tobacco use at 17. It similarly found that those who used tobacco at fourteen were likelier to vape by age 17.
This study, by its own admission, did not take the following things into consideration:
- Parental tobacco use
- Alcohol use
- Externalised behaviours
- Infancy risk factors
- Maternal smoking while the child is in the womb.
- Social conditions
- Economic conditions
- And any and all demographic characteristics such as female or male, childhood trauma, and even parental expectations.
Which means the study is based on raw data only. There are several risk factors that lead to tobacco use in teenage years. This study effectively ignores all of these increased chances of smoking as a teen and attributes all of the numbers to vape use. To say this is a thorough study would be misleading.
Do kids aged 14+ have a higher risk of smoking if they vape?
The evidence does suggest that the results of the study are correct, even if it discounts all the factors that contribute to teen smoking which scientists have previously proven. If your teen vapes, they may take up smoking. If your teen smokes, they may also turn to vaping – which is much safer than cigarettes.
You can read the whole study for yourself here. Remember, you won’t find this link in other news sources. They seem to be copying each other’s reports without doing any research of their own.
The results bring us back to the same problem we have been highlighting for years now. Although Trading Standards officials routinely crack down on the UK outlets who do sell disposable vapes to teens, more must be done to stop teens getting their hands on vape devices in the first place. This means keeping vigilant and reporting shops you see selling vapes to those who are too young.
If you need vape products – as an adult.
If you are an adult living in the UK who wants to make the switch from smoking to vaping, you are wise to do so. These devices cause 95% less harm to your body than cigarettes do, according to experts like ASH, Cancer Research UK, the NHS, and the UK government’s own studies. Find all the vape kits, e-liquids, disposables and replacement pods and coils at Vapedirect.com – Milton Keynes’ favourite (adult) vape shop.