The so-called ‘re-normalisation’ of smoking among impressionable young people has been used many times to attack vaping, with governments tightening e-cigarette regulations in response to such claims.
However, a new Cardiff University study has rebuffed these fears.
Researchers collected the data from the results of three national surveys taken between 1998 and 2015, using responses from some 248,324 13 and 15 year olds, who had indicated whether they smoked, and how frequently if they did.
The study’s authors said:
“While not an intervention in the traditional sense of the term, the emergence of e-cigarettes represents an important industry-driven ‘event’ within the tobacco control system with potential to alter its trajectories, positively and negatively”
The study’s objective was to find out if smoking began to be re-normalised among this age group during the 2010 to 2015 ‘boom’ period of unregulated growth and popularity of e-cigarettes.
Researchers used a statistical method called ‘segmented time series regression analysis’ to predict future responses and trends based on response history.
Results from the study showed “no significant change,” in the pre-existing trend for ever-smoking, suggesting that e-cigarette popularity had little to no effect on youth smoking numbers.
The authors said:
“What is more, positive perceptions of smoking attitudes declined at a faster rate following the proliferation of e-cigarettes, suggesting that attitudes towards smoking hardened while e-cigarettes were emerging, rather than softening as would be expected were smoking becoming re-normalised.”