The latest Action on Smoking and Health report shows more people in the UK are recognizing how much safer vaping is than smoking
Around the world, vapers are facing harsh treatment. Some countries have enacted bans, others serious restrictions. Users who do have access to vaping products face increasingly higher taxes. Great Britain, on the other hand, has been a leader in accepting e-cigarettes and encouraging their citizens to utilize them for harm reduction and smoking cessation purposes.
If you have read our other articles, then you know that we always advocate for governments accepting vaping just as Great Britain has done. More and more experts believe that if a government encourages their smokers to use vaporizers, they’ll be more willing to give them a shot. This line of thinking has been validated once again with the latest results from the annual Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) survey.
The 2018 Report
According to the results of the 2018 survey, the number of vapers in Great Britain has quadrupled over the last six years. At the time of the 2012 study, 700,000 people were vaping across the country, but now that number is a staggering 3.2 million. Of that 3.2 million over half are former smokers, and another 44% are people who dual use, smoking and vaping interchangeably. The main reasons cited by people choosing to vape were smoking cessation, as well as cutting down on the number of cigarettes they smoke, and saving money.
The survey also found a growing awareness of e-cigarettes by the general public as well. Where in 2012 only 49% of adults had ever even heard of cigarettes, now that number has grown to 93%. “UK policy is on the right track, with thousands of smokers making the switch to vaping and improving their health, and little sign of non-smokers taking up vaping,” said the chief executive of ASH, Deborah Arnott. But that doesn’t mean she believes vaping has reached its full potential. Arnott continued to say that even more people could be helped if more doctors stepped in and started prescribing them to patients who have had trouble quitting.
Unfortunately, not everything has gone perfectly. One crucial issue that has not been fully solved is the public perception. According to the survey, only 17% of the respondents answered that they know e-cigarettes to be substantially less harmful than smoking. Meanwhile, 26% believe that e-cigarettes are as dangerous or more harmful than tobacco.
While the overall public perception of vaping is not the best it could be, the trend is still steadily moving in the right direction. Last year the ASH survey indicated only 13% of respondents knew the truth about vaping’s harm reduction value. So just over the course of one year, there has been a 4% increase. Not only that but the number of individuals mislead about the dangers of vaping has held steady at 26%.
The vast majority of the scientific evidence on vaping has proven its value in harm reduction and in smoking cessation. It was Public Health England, Great Britain’s public health agency, who published a study back in 2015 which found vaping to be a minimum, 95% safer than smoking combustible cigarettes. Another study, published in the Journal of Aerosol Science early this year, found the excess lifetime cancer risk (risk of developing cancer beyond genetic disposition) of a vaper is 57,000 times lower than that of a smoker from a similar background.
It is also encouraging to see so many utilizing vaping for smoking cessation purposes, not only because that was the intention behind their invention, but also because they’re extremely good at it. A study out of the University of Louisville found that when compared with other smoking cessation methods, including prescriptions and nicotine patches, that vaping was the most effective at helping people successfully quit smoking.
Great Britain is an excellent example of how a government is embracing and supporting vaping for its smoking cessation and harm reduction value. Great Britain’s endorsement of vapes has led to more smokers giving them a shot, which in turn leads to more people quitting smoking and better perception among their citizens.
That said, public knowledge of the truth is still low even in Great Britain, so it’s likely much worse elsewhere. The bottom line is that more of the population believes vaping to do more harm than good. While some may be reserving their change of opinion until more long-term research is done, the facts we have now indicate they’re wasting time. It is imperative that vaping be more widely appreciated and accepted if it is to reach its full potential. All that potential could even eventually lead us to a smoke-free world.
Do you think the rest of the world should try and emulate the UK in regards to vaping regulation? Is public perception of vaping a big problem for the community at large? Should we be working to change the mind of our peers or legislators first? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.