University of Leicester researchers receive funding to explore vaping among adolescents

University of Leicester research team receives grant from Cancer Research UK to explore adolescent use of e-cigarettes

"A great deal of controversy surrounds the extent to which e-cigarettes might act as a 'gateway' to smoking, and might be exploited by tobacco companies as a new means of recruiting a generation of nicotine dependents. However, equally, e-cigarettes might offer a way for young smokers to switch to a safer source of nicotine or to stop entirely" - Professor Jason Hughes, University of Leicester.

A research team led by the University of Leicester will be exploring how young people use e-cigarettes or 'vape' as part of a new project funded by Cancer Research UK.

Professor Jason Hughes, of the University of Leicester's College of Social Science, Arts and Humanities, is supported by Dr Michelle O'Reilly, in collaboration with other researchers from the Universities of Leicester (John Goodwin, Khalid Karim and Grace Sykes) and Leeds (Kahryn Hughes) on the project, which has a total value of £278,000.

The project entitled 'Adolescent Vaping Careers' will explore aspects of the ascendancy of e-cigarette use or 'vaping'.

Professor Hughes said:

A great deal of controversy surrounds the extent to which e-cigarettes might act as a 'gateway' to smoking, and might be exploited by tobacco companies as a new means of recruiting a generation of nicotine dependents.

However, equally, e-cigarettes might offer a way for young smokers to switch to a safer source of nicotine or to stop entirely.

The study focuses on the social and material conditions under which some users might switch from vaping to smoking, or indeed from smoking to vaping, or perhaps even towards full cessation.

It explores the interaction between social learning, media influences, peer networks, and a range of socio-economic factors in influencing the different usage trajectories of adolescent vapers.

Through an exploration of young people's understandings, uses and experiences of e-cigarettes, the project will examine the relationship between vaping and smoking, particularly how this shifts over time and in relation to a range of different influences.

The research team hope to offer a more adequate evidential base from which to inform harm reduction and tobacco control strategies which target this particularly vulnerable age group.

Professor Jason Hughes's first book, Learning to Smoke, was winner of the 2006 Norbert Elias prize and explored the socio-legal regulation as well as the processes of 'self-regulation' in relation to smoking.

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