Vaping are a less harmful alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes that has already made smokers worldwide quit smoking. But since the boom in e-cigarettes produced by so many vape manufacturer in recent years, the theory of the so-called gateway effect has persisted, according to which e-cigarettes would supposedly lead to a lowered inhibition threshold to start smoking tobacco cigarettes. But what about the alleged gateway effect?
What is the Gateway Effect?
So much in advance:
- The Gateway Effect has never been proven.
- But now, it has also been refuted by the world’s most extensive study on this topic.
- So there is nothing to the theory.
When you hear the term gateway effect, you might as well think it’s a scientific study of airport observations or a space exploration term.
But there is a straightforward thought behind the complicated-sounding term, which – although unproven – is persistently brought up in many discussions: By consuming lighter drugs (in our case, an e-liquid with less nicotine, less harmful to health), the inhibition threshold will drop at some point the milder version was then not enough for the consumers, and they would resort to the more complex variant (in our case the tobacco cigarette).
In the context of the discussion about cannabis legalization, this theory has been advocated by some politicians for years under the well-known gateway drug hypothesis: stoners who had once started with light drugs such as marijuana would sooner or later be on the street with a syringe in their arm or end up in the methadone dispensary. So now, the theory has spread further to e-cigarettes, and vapers must grapple with the claims.
THE FINAL PROOF: THERE IS NO GATEWAY!
Especially in connection with e-cigarettes, several questions arise that make the existence of a gateway effect very doubtful:
Why should young people who are used to aromatic liquids accept a loss in taste by switching to tobacco cigarettes?
Aren’t most vapers adults anyway?
Why should young people scrape their hard-earned pocket money out of the piggy bank to switch to the more expensive smoking of tobacco cigarettes?
Questions upon questions that we will probably never be able to answer fully will always leave the gateway effect a vague mystery that some people believe in, but others don’t?
Not entirely, because several studies now make a clean sweep of the ominous gateway effect in e-cigarettes. One way or another, the Gateway effect has never been scientifically proven. Still, several studies have finally cleared up the assumptions: The Gateway effect in e-cigarettes has been scientifically refuted.
AN OVERVIEW: THE MOST IMPORTANT STUDIES IN DETAIL
There have already been many studies on this subject. We would like to briefly present the three most revealing studies of recent years, which admittedly all have somewhat unwieldy titles:
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on e-cigarette use among adolescents in the UK
Center for interdisciplinary addiction research at the University of Hamburg (ZiS) on consumption habits and motives of e-cigarette users in Germany
Cardiff University on renormalizing smoking with e-cigarettes
Gateway Effect Study 1
The “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health” concluded with its meta-study: “Our results show that there is no evidence that e-cigarettes increase the urge to smoke tobacco. This is crucial and shows that fears of the e-cigarette as a gateway for more young people to become smokers are currently unjustified.”
Gateway Effect Study 2
The University of Hamburg came to a similar conclusion, which found in a survey of vapers that more than 90% of former smokers switched entirely to e-cigarettes after 4 weeks and could no longer imagine consuming tobacco cigarettes in the future. Among the 8% of dual users, that is, who used both traditional and electronic cigarettes, 96% said they smoked less tobacco than before, and 69% wanted to quit smoking. Only 1% of respondents started using e-cigarettes without having smoked before. The study shows precisely the opposite effect of a gateway; smokers switch to e-cigarettes.
Gateway Effect Study 3
The most extensive scientific study on this topic to date should remove even the last doubts:
After evaluating the data of 248,324 (!) schoolchildren from 1998 to 2015, whether e-cigarettes would normalize smoking was answered with a clear and unequivocal “no”.
Even if primarily ignored by politicians or by Dr Martina Potschke-Langer, even discredited as “payment commands”, the studies mentioned are all independent, meet scientific standards and paint a clear picture: the gateway effect lacks any technical basis.
VAPERS DON’T BECOME CHAIN SMOKERS, BUT VICE VERSA
A vaper who puts his feet up after a hard day at work and enjoys a strong puff of his delicious apple juice will not chain smoke at the end of the day and run desperately to the nearest kiosk to buy a carton of cigarettes. After all, cola drinkers don’t switch to bitter caffeine pills just because they can consume more caffeine.
Instead, with increasing awareness of e-cigarettes, chain smokers will think twice about switching to an intense taste experience that involves fewer health risks and is cheaper at the same time.
The tobacco lobby, the advertising ban by TPD vape and now also the liquid tax: the list of e-cigarette opponents who put obstacles in the way of vaping is long. If pseudo-scientific and false factual claims come along under the guise of psychological effects, it becomes uncomfortable for vapers. But we have the facts on our side. It will probably be a while before everyone gets that. For us, it means: Stick together and keep vaping diligently!