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What is it about the gateway effect? 0
What is it about the gateway effect?

What is it about the gateway effect?

Do e-cigarettes open the door to smoking for young people? E-cigarettes are the less unhealthy alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes that have already encouraged smokers around the world to quit. But since the e-cigarette boom in recent years, the theory of the so-called gateway effect has persisted, according to which e-cigarettes would allegedly lead to people starting to smoke tobacco cigarettes once the inhibition threshold has been lowered. But what is it about the alleged gateway effect?

What is the gateway effect all about?

So much in advance:

  • The gateway effect can never be proven.
  • But now it has also been finally refuted by the largest study on this topic worldwide to date.
  • So there is nothing to be said about the theory.

When you hear the term gateway effect, you might as well think it was a scientific study of observations at airports or a term from space exploration.

But behind the complicated-sounding term there is a very simple thought that - although unproven - is persistently repeated in many discussions: By consuming lighter drugs (in our case a less nicotine-containing, less harmful e-liquid) the inhibition threshold will sink at some point if the milder version is not enough for consumers and they would resort to the harder version (in our case the tobacco cigarette).

In the context of the discussion about cannabis legalization, this theory has been advocated for years by some politicians under the well-known entry-level drug hypothesis: stoners who once started using light drugs like marijuana would sooner or later be on the street with a syringe in their arms or end up at the methadone dispensing point. Now the theory has also eaten its way on the subject of e-cigarettes and vapers have to grapple with the claims.

The final proof: there is no gateway!

In connection with e-cigarettes in particular, 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 the pocket money they have saved up from the piggy bank in order to switch to the more expensive smoking of tobacco cigarettes?

Questions about questions that we can never quite answer and that make the gateway effect a shrouded mystery forever, in which one believes, but the other does not?

Not quite, because there are now several studies that once and for all have cleared up the ominous gateway effect in e-cigarettes. The gateway effect has never been scientifically proven one way or the other, but several studies now finally dispel 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 topic. We would like to briefly highlight the three most informative studies of the past few years, all of which admittedly have somewhat cumbersome titles:

  • International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health on e-cigarette use among teenagers in the UK
  • Center for interdisciplinary addiction research at the University of Hamburg (ZiS) on consumer habits and motives of e-cigarette users in Germany
  • Cardiff University on the renormalization of smoking through the e-cigarette

Gateway Effect Study 1

The “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health” came to the following conclusion with its meta-study: “Our results show that there is no evidence that e-cigarettes increase the urge to smoke. This is crucial and shows that the fear of the e-cigarette as a gateway for more young people who are becoming smokers is currently not justified. "

Gateway Effect Study 2

The University of Hamburg came to a similar result, which in a survey with vapers found that more than 90% of the former smokers switched completely to the e-cigarette after 4 weeks and could no longer imagine consuming tobacco cigarettes in the future. Among the 8% dual users who used both conventional and electronic cigarettes, 96% stated that they smoke less tobacco than before and 69% wanted to quit smoking. Only 1% of those surveyed started using e-cigarettes without having smoked beforehand. The study shows exactly the opposite effect of a gateway, smokers switch to e-cigarettes.

Gateway Effect Study 3

The largest scientific study on this subject to date should remove even the last doubts:

After evaluating the data from 248,324 (!) Schoolchildren in the period from 1998 to 2015, the question of whether the e-cigarette would renormalize smoking was clearly answered with “no”.

Vapers don't become chain smokers, but vice versa

A vaper who puts his feet up after a strenuous day at work and indulges in a strong swig of his delicious apple liquid will not desperately run to the nearest kiosk at the end of the day as a chain smoker to buy a carton of cigarettes. After all, cola drinkers don't switch to bitter caffeine tablets just because they can consume more caffeine.

Rather, as the popularity of e-cigarettes increases, the chain smoker will think twice about switching to an intense taste experience that is associated with fewer health risks and at the same time even cheaper.

The tobacco lobby, the advertising ban and now also the liquid tax: the list of e-cigarette opponents who put obstacles in the way for us vapers is long. When pseudoscientific 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 take a while before everyone knows that. For us it means: stick together and keep vaping!

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