in this recent study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, concludes that it found no evidence that vaping is a gateway to smoking among youth. This comes from the youth smoking initiation, AKA PATH; Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study.
They surveyed in two waves 12,000 US youths and asked numerous questions about both frequency in vaping and smoking behavior. The study assessed numerous risk factors for smoking that can be controlled for in multivariate analyses of smoking initiation rate differences between a variety of groups. The baseline survey was conducted in back in 2013 to 2014 and the one year follow up survey occurred a year later.
Those who conducted the study were unable to report a single youth out of the 12,000 in the sample who was a cigarette naive, regular vaper at baseline who progressed to become a smoker at the follow up a year later. This study is still ongoing and of course we'll check in as soon as it's updated to make sure that the evidence remains consistent.
Out of the 12,000 youth, there were only 21 who were even past 30-day e-cigarette users at baseline, cigarette naive, who progressed even to try combustible smoking at the one year check in. These youth reported using e-cigarettes only 1-5 days in the past 30 days at baseline, but based on this kind of reporting it's not evident that they were regular vapers, they could have just tried an e-cigarette one time in the past month. If you're being over generous, vaping was the gateway to smokes for these select 21, representing less than a percent of the studied group.
This study also concludes that although use of vaping barely increased the risk of smoking initiation, the within 30 day use of vapes did not increase the risk of smoking initiation, which means no correlation. It's important to note that this finding is consistent that youth who vape eLiquids and do not become vapers, also do not become smokers. Also tying that vapers are not more likely to try cigarettes because they vape.
Despite the anti-vape hysteria going around that vaping is the gateway to smoking, this most definitive study to date fails to provide any evidence that is the case. In fact this provides evidence suggesting that vaping actually works as a kind of diversion that can keep people away from cigarette smoking.
In other words, the reality and the evidence suggests that a culture of vaping is actually replacing the culture of smoking.