In a recent study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, assessing 26,500 smokers across Europe found that according to their usage, electronic cigarettes are not a gateway to tobacco by any means. As expected, and as most users would explain, the researchers found that those who use electronic alternatives to cigarettes turn to the products to get away from tobacco usage, and not the other way around.
This study was the largest ever of its kind published in the EU, and it revealed that merely 1% of nonsmokers had tried an e-cigarette type product, also representing that the products do not appeal to nonsmokers, and that they have very little allure to those who are not interested in smoking in general. 20% of smokers in the study had tried an electronic cigarette product at least once, while 4% of former smokers had tried them. An overall estimate from the Harvard study puts the number of people in the European Union who have at least tried e-cigarettes at 29 million.
While the researched showed that the majority of e-cigarette smokers were young, in the 15-24 age bracket, it also revealed that they were all previously heavy smokers who were looking for an alternative to tobacco usage.
One of the leading professional voices in the international medical community who supports electronic cigarette usage, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a cardiologist at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, Greece commented on the findings of the study as further proof that electronic cigarettes are not attempting to renormalize smoking. He stated that the products are not drawing in nonsmokers, as the findings of this study prove that nonsmokers have little interest in adopting usage. Current smokers see them as an alternative to tobacco, and that is the general consensus of how they are perceived.
As e-cigarettes grow in popularity, they have become a hot button subject in terms of public health. In a report done by Public Health England in May, and recently when an international committee of scientists urged the World Health Organization to consider their stance on e-cigarettes very cautiously as they present a very valid opportunity in terms of public health issues in helping smokers veer away from tobacco use, more and more research and advocacy is coming to light in favor of e-cigarettes and the options they provide to assist smokers. As this study, and surely more in the future will show, electronic cigarettes are having a very positive impact on smokers throughout the world.