Executive Summary

Vaping has been extensively accused of being a gateway to smoking for adults and adolescents. Multiple studies have aimed to undermine the credibility of e-cigarettes as a cessation tool, and there is an urgent need to shift the Overton window of the debate and outline a science-based perspective that policyma- kers can use to enhance the wellbeing of consumers.

This paper aims to debunk several aspects of the “gateway ar- gument” and provide an alternative perspective as to why vaping actually helps conventional smokers divert from traditional and harmful tobacco consumption.

The main findings of this paper are:

  • Nicotine is not the issue – toxins in cigarettes are

  • E-cigarettes help adults quit smoking

  • Vaping does not lead to smoking among adolescents

  • Banning flavours won’t solve the problem

    Vaping is a gateway out of smoking and should be endorsed by policymakers as such.


Vaping has been proven to be 95% less harmful than smoking and has been endor- sed by multiple international health bodies as a safer alternative. While some critics have argued that vaping is a gateway to smoking, the opposite is true. Vaping is a gateway from smoking, and has been used by millions of adults to reduce the health risks associated with tobacco consumption.

The innovative nature of vaping has contributed to its success and allowed it to qui- ckly gain popularity among smokers. At the same time, because it is a novel techno- logy, it has also been met with suspicion and has come under fire in many countries. Current examples are stringent branding and marketing restrictions in Germany, liquid flavour bans in the Netherlands and California. While intended to protect the public, especially young people, such restrictions have instead blocked access for adults to vaping products and thus prevented many smokers from improving their wellbeing by switching from smoking to vaping.

Despite their life-saving potential, e-cigarettes have been widely scrutinised on their effectiveness in helping people quit smoking. Some of the most recent studies have found that people who vape may be more likely to start smoking. Naturally, such claims have spurred a wider discussion on the essence of vaping and whether it con- tributes to tobacco abstinence after some time, or whether it serves as a gateway to conventional smoking.

This policy note aims to provide a comprehensive set of arguments of why vaping is a gateway out of smoking and not a path towards it.

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Michael Landl

Director at the World Vapers’ Alliance

Maria Chaplia

Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center

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Vaping has the potential to ensure 200 million smokers quit forever, but governments must encourage and facilitate it as a cessation method Now more than ever, it is vital that vapers’ voices are heard. to low-risk nicotine products such as vaping.

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