Young people do not see e-cigarettes as ‘smoking’

A man smoking an electronic cigarette Credit: PA

Young people do not see e-cigarettes as a form of smoking and are more interested in the wide range of flavours and performing tricks with the vapour, according to new research.

A study at Durham University argues that public health professionals and policy makers should consider how young people’s motivations for e-cigarette use differ from adults, to help tailor their public health messages.

The study, which explored trends in smoking-related attitudes and behaviours amongst young people (aged 14-25), found that only 28% of participants who used e-cigarettes said they did so to help them stop smoking.

Instead, the majority of young people were attracted by the range of flavours and, in particular teenage boys, the ability to perform tricks with the vapour.

Professor Measham from Durham University explains:

A person smoking an e-cigarette Credit: PA

The study found that whilst most young people identified traditional cigarettes as being very harmful, the same was not true when it came to e-cigarettes.

Young people were less clear on whether e-cigarettes were harmful, and also highlighted positives to their use such as being less harmful than tobacco smoking and producing more pleasant smelling vapours.

Young people’s decision-making around the use of e-cigarettes involves personal, social and cultural factors. The research team argue that understanding this could help better inform regulation and communications with young people around e-cigarette use.

Professor Measham said: