They write: “E-cigarette use, especially among adolescents, remains a controversial topic in public health. The first problem is the intrinsic danger of vaping. Vaping is predominantly considered to be safer than conventional cigarette smoking, although there is currently insufficient evidence for disregarding any long-term toxicity.
“The second problem is the potential relationship between e-cigarettes and tobacco: could e-cigarettes increase the risk of a transition to tobacco smoking, or could they reduce smoking prevalence by serving as a substitution product?
“A third problem is the potential risk that the marketing and growing popularity of vaping products could eventually ‘renormalize’ smoking, and thus undermine the current declining trends in tobacco use among young people. Providing answers to these questions is of considerable importance for public health, as it could help in prevention campaigns targeting adolescents.”
They looked at data from 24111 French adolescents aged 17-18.5 years. All these individuals self-reported previously experimenting with either e‐cigarettes or tobacco.
The team concluded: “Overall, experimenting with e-cigarette first (as opposed to tobacco first) was associated with a reduction in the risk of daily tobacco smoking by the age of 17-18. The association varied with age at experimentation, and an early age of experimentation actually increased the risk. National specificities as to the stage in the tobacco/e-cigarette epidemic and their regulation could play a role in the fact that many adolescents experimenting first with e-cigarette never became tobacco experimenters and that the association with daily smoking was negative even among tobacco experimenters.”