Researchers to explore the use of e-cigarettes by young people

A research team led by our University will be exploring how young people use e-cigarettes or ‘vape’ as part of a new project funded by Cancer Research UK entitled 'Adolescent Vaping Careers'.

Professor Jason Hughes, of the School of Media, Communication and Sociology, 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.

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.