The global scientific community is divided over e-cigarettes and whether or not they are a useful public health tool as a nicotine replacement therapy.
While many advocates of e-cigarettes claim that vaping can be used as a method to curtail smoking habits, the research actually found that using e-cigarettes was likely to increase the amount of tobacco consumption in teenagers who already smoked cigarettes.
The research, published online in the British Medical Journal's specialised Tobacco Control journal on Thursday, suggested there may be evidence e-cigarettes could be leading United Kingdom teenagers to try tobacco smoking.
Lead author Daniel Giovenco at the Mailman School of Public Health said that the findings suggest that frequent e-cigarette use may play an important role in cessation or relapse prevention for some smokers. According to him, although the United Kingdom had introduced strong control measures for non-conventional smoking, effective enforcement of the same is vital.
A British study into smoking and e-cigarette use among United Kingdom teenagers has produced mixed results, prompting scientists to caution against altering policy decisions or public health advice until evidence becomes clearer.
The study suggested sixty-five per cent of e-cigarette users have tried to give up compared with 40 per cent of fag smokers.
The research is the first United Kingdom evidence that vaping may act as a gateway to smoking.
The study, which was published in the Tobacco Control journal, claimed this suggested a "robust association" between using vape pens and smoking cigarettes.
Starting to smoke over the next 12 months was significantly more common among those who had friends and two or three family members who smoked. Some had tried tobacco but the vast majority were non-smokers.
Researchers report that more than one-third of the students ages 13 to 14 said they had used e-cigarettes at baseline and 22.6% said they had smoked traditional cigarettes.
But the team cautioned that their study lacked clarity regarding the mechanism by which e-cigarette use predisposed teenagers to cigarette use.
This compared with only nine percent in the group who had not tried e-cigarettes when the survey began.
The scientific paper raises the question that the adolescents who tried e-cigarettes would have tried smoking anyway, whether e-cigarettes were available or not?
There was no evidence of a "causal connection between using an e-cigarette and later smoking", said Robert West, Professor of Health Psychology at University College London.
It could also be that the use of e-cigarettes creates friendship networks with smokers.
This is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, something which the researchers are eager to emphasise.
From October 2015, it has been illegal in the United Kingdom for retailers to sell e-cigarettes or vaporising liquids to anyone under the age of 18.
Yet, they add more research into the subject is required.