Health & Studies

No Gateway

New research published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research journal finds teens who initiate vaping share the same risk profile as teens who smoke

Share on:
New research in the medical journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research finds that previous studies claiming a link from vaping to smoking is flawed and is more a case of vapers sharing risk factors with smokers. Lead author Arielle Selya said the work debunks the so-called “gateway hypothesis”.

While pointing out the potential drawbacks of vaping, the paper notes: “e-cigarettes may aid in reducing or quitting conventional cigarette smoking, therefore, resulting in substantial harm reduction.”

Initial findings shows that new vapers have a 36x chance of initiating smoking, that is until the authors factored in 14 risk factors. At this point it demonstrated that “lifetime and current e-cigarette use did not significantly increase the risk of current conventional cigarette smoking.”

“This study is among the first studies attempting to estimate the relationship between e-cigarette use and conventional cigarette smoking by using propensity score methods for causal inference, which produce less-biased effect estimates compared to conventional regression adjustment.”

WPSD News wrote that the study “calls into question earlier research that has linked electronic cigarettes to traditional smoking,” and also that “many praised the study's methodology” [link].

Selya added: “Most of the public health community thinks that e-cigarettes act as a 'gateway' to nicotine use, and attract new populations of users,” and, “e-cigarettes might cause youth who use them to transition to use of combustible tobacco products.”

“It's really important to hold off on making policies on e-cigarettes until we have a more solid understanding of its effects. We have to ask what the effect of regulating e-cigarettes would be. At a minimum, existing policies should be continuously re-evaluated as more research comes out."

The study concluded: “This study contradicts some previous work showing that e-cigarette use is associated with a higher likelihood of smoking conventional cigarettes, as this study found no evidence for a role of e-cigarette use in promoting regular and/or current cigarette smoking in youth. One reason for the discrepancy could be methodological: conventional regression control is known to be biased in cases of strong confounding, and some previous literature may reflect unmeasured or unaccounted for confounding.”

Dr. Nicholas Chadi said: “This is a very important study using an innovative methodology.”

Adam Leventhal has been involved in a number of flawed studies purporting to demonstrate a progression from vaping to smoking. Naturally, given his reliance on funding to say this, the academic is none too impressed with work highlighting his shortcomings: “This a cross-sectional study taken at a single snapshot in time.” He claims this makes it “very difficult to draw any conclusions about any causal relation between e-cigarette use and combustible cigarette use."

But he would say that, wouldn’t he?


  • “The Relationship Between Electronic Cigarette Use and Conventional Cigarette Smoking Is Largely Attributable to Shared Risk Factors” by Kim and Selya – [link]
Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
View Articles

Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

Join the discussion

Vaping News

Harm Reduction For The Rich

The United Kingdom risks becoming a harm reduction country only for the wealthy, according to Michael Landl of the World Vapers’ Alliance

Vaping News

CAPHRA Highlights Tobacco Control Flaws

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates highlights the flaws in tobacco control which has led to the rise of black market in Australia

Vaping News

A Missed Opportunity at COP10

The Smoke Free Sweden movement says that COP10 was a missed opportunity to save millions of lives

Vaping News

COP10: Promote Tobacco Harm Reduction

Experts with Smoke Free Sweden are emphasising the urgent need for a Tobacco Harm Reduction approach at COP10