The increased growth of largely unregulated e-cigarettes between 2011 and 2015 has not been associated with the uptake in smoking among teenagers, according to the journal Tobacco Control.
National surveys reveal that smoking in young people has actually continued to fall in recent years, despite the rapid increase in e-cigarettes.
Researchers say that responses between 1988 and 2015 suggest that the percentage of 13- to 15-year-olds who had ever smoked fell from 60 per cent to 19 per cent. The number of regular smokers also fell from 19 per cent to five per cent.
Commenting on the observational study, the researchers said: “Positive perceptions of smoking attitudes declined at a faster rate following the proliferation of e-cigarettes, suggesting that attitudes towards smoking hardened while e-cigarettes were emerging rather than softening, as would be expected were smoking becoming renormalised.”