Most vape shops and suppliers often have multiple goals in mind, some of which are financial and others are more to assist in beneficial social change.
Given that smoking is one of the single biggest causes of premature death in the world, any measures that will stop people from facing a premature, painful death is a positive move, and a study by Queen Mary University suggests that this could be the case.
This could help to alleviate the publicised but unsubstantiated theory that vaping leads to smoking and argues that potentially it could reverse it, although it is important to note that this research is at an early stage and requires more data to confirm to what extent this is the case.
Reversing The Gateway
Throughout the history of alcohol, tobacco and drug policy, one enduring theory that has consistently been mentioned is the gateway theory, and as e-cigarettes have emerged, this hypothesis has been commonly used by critics.
The theory, rooted in drugs and controlled substances and commonly cited in “war on drugs” policies, is that taking one addictive substance will lead to taking strong, more illicit and more dangerous substances.
Smoking tobacco, according to the theory, increases the chances of smoking cannabis, which increases the chance of taking other Class B or Class A drugs.
It is contentious, to say the least, with much of the evidence for its existence being circumstantial, less a case that taking one drug causes the taking of another but more that a lot of recreational drug taking is influenced by similar social and personal conditions.
Where e-cigarettes come into this is a belief that vaping forms the beginning of the chain. A person uses a vape, moves on to cigarettes and in turn moves into more illicit substances.
It is a tenuous hypothesis, and the QMU study suggests that not only is it not true but that the opposite is the case.
The study compares the use and sales of vape devices with the use and sales of cigarettes in different countries, each with different laws and attitudes to both vaping and smoking.
What it found disproves the gateway theory for e-cigarettes as in countries with progressive legislation regarding vaping, smoking rates have reduced, suggesting that cigarettes and vaping are in direct competition.
This is a reversal of gateway theory, suggesting that the prevalence of e-cigarettes is potentially helping to lower smoking rates, making the ambition of a smoke-free society far closer to a feasible future reality than many people did not imagine was possible in the days when cigarettes sponsored cartoons.
However, correlation does not necessarily equal causation, and QMU researchers have noted that given that vaping is relatively new, much more data over a long period of time is needed to truly quantify the effect vaping has on smoking.
As many sellers and suppliers know, vaping is a rapidly moving field with a lot of changes, but the overall verdict is encouraging that fewer people are at risk of dying unnecessarily from complications related to smoking tobacco.