A study from the University of Bristol has found evidence that young people who vape are more likely to go on to smoke real cigarettes, even if they have never smoked before.
NHS England still believes that vaping isn't exactly healthy, but is much healthier than standard cigarette smoking.
The latest research from the University of Bristol's Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group (TARG), combined 17 studies on whether vaping habits would lead to traditional smoking.
Is vaping a gateway to smoking?
E-cigarettes come in various forms, but all are roughly the same in nicotine delivery. Unlike a traditional cigarette, where tobacco is burnt and inhaled, e-cigarettes use a heated coil system to heat a nicotine filled liquid which is inhaled as a vapour.
Initially invented as a safer alternative to smoking, and hailed by health agencies as a effective way to stop, the new study questions whether vaping can be a "gateway" to smoking. Results found that young people who have never smoked were four and a half times more likely to try smoking if they were already vaping.
But, according to Bristol University,"the research team also identified a number of issues with the studies included in this analysis, which makes them cautious to conclude that e-cigarette use is causing young people to start smoking."
No conclusive proof
Jasmine Khouja, a PhD student in TARG based in the School of Psychological Science, said, "Policymakers have used the findings of studies, including the studies we reviewed in this research, to support the heavy regulation of e-cigarettes, including restrictions on flavours and even total bans, but the evidence that e-cigarette use might cause young people to take up smoking is not as strong as it might appear."
Scientists are worried about the long-term effects of vaping, as the technology has not been around for long enough for us to understand the true dangers. Many people quit smoking traditional cigarettes, which are proven to be extremely bad for your health, by vaping.
Bristol University added, "Whilst the association between e-cigarette use among non-smokers and subsequent smoking appears strong, the available evidence is limited by the reliance on self-report measures of smoking history without biochemical verification."