The activists and politicians pushing for strict regulation of electronic cigarettes claim to be thinking of the children, who supposedly are endangered by nicotine delivery devices that may lure them into deadly tobacco habits. Hence e-cigarette alarmists jumped all over CDC survey data indicating that the percentage of teenagers who have tried e-cigarettes doubled (from 3.3 percent to 6.8 percent) between 2011 and 2012. "Many teens who start with e-cigarettes may be condemned to struggling with a lifelong addiction to nicotine and conventional cigarettes," CDC Director Tom Frieden worried. But the survey data provided no evidence that e-cigarettes are a gateway to the conventional kind, and a new study casts further doubt on that hypothesis. In a survey of 1,300 college students, a team led by Theodore Wagener, an assistant professor of general and community pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, found that only 43 (3.3 percent) said e-cigarettes were the first form of nicotine they'd tried. Of those, only one (2.3 percent) later started smoking conventional cigarettes. "It didn't seem as though it really proved to be a gateway to anything," said Wagener, who described his results at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
[Thanks to Bill Godshall for the tip.]