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expert reaction to research on whether e-cigarettes have renormalised smoking among teenagers

Research published in Tobacco Control demonstrates that there is little evidence that renormalisation of youth smoking was occurring during a period of rapid growth and limited regulation of e-cigarettes from 2011 to 2015.

Prof John Britton, Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies, University of Nottingham, said:

“This comprehensive analysis of data from young people in the UK confirms what is evident from simple inspection: that using ecigarettes does not, to any appreciable extent, cause young people to become tobacco smokers. It is vital that these trends continue to be monitored so that any adverse effect is detected early, but these findings provide further endorsement for health policies that promote the use of e-cigarettes as a substitute for tobacco smoking.

“Although it is always difficult to infer cause and effect from observational studies, these findings strongly suggest that e-cigarettes do not cause teens to take up smoking.”

“We now know, therefore, that e-cigarettes do not renormalize smoking; do not cause young people to start smoking; and have helped thousands of smokers to quit. We should continue to pursue an active tobacco harm reduction policy in the UK.”

‘Have e-cigarettes renormalised or displaced youth smoking? Results of a segmented regression analysis of repeated cross sectional survey data in England, Scotland and Wales’ by Britt Hallingberg et al. was published in Tobacco Control at 23.30 hours UK time Monday 1 April 2019

Declared interests

Prof John Britton: “No interests to declare.”

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