The poll conducted in Hong Kong found that about three-quarters of parents believe e-cigarettes need to be entirely restricted.
Vaping regulations can vary greatly depending on where you find yourself. They’ve only been on the market for around ten years, so it’s reasonably understandable how so many different routes have been taken, but the increasing pile of peer-reviewed evidence ought to be improving this problem. Instead, we continue to see things get worse for vaping, especially around the world, where lawmakers in Hong Kong are currently discussing an outright ban on e-cigarettes. Adding to the fire is a recently released report which concluded nearly 75% of the almost 10,000 parents polled believe vaping should be banned entirely.
Both sides of the vaping debate have had strong reactions to the news. Anti-vapers believe this is proof vaping isn’t safer, and acceptance of vaping is ultimately reversing the declining smoking rates. Those who support vaping instead point to a large pile of peer-reviewed evidence which concludes not only is vaping much safer than smoking, but it’s also one of the best smoking cessation tools we currently have at our disposal.
The survey in question was conducted by the Committee on Home-School Co-Operation and Federations of Parent-Teacher Associations and released earlier this week. According to the researchers, they distributed questionnaires to parents at over 100 different schools of various levels. The results were quite telling, as it proved most parents in Hong Kong are incredibly skeptical of vaping, and it’s long term effects. A full 75% of the over 9,000 parents surveyed said they want a total ban on e-cigarettes as well as other alternative nicotine sources, such as heat-not-burn devices and clove cigarettes. Even worse, over half (56%) of the parents surveyed who smoke themselves also felt vaping should be banned. The most common reason given for such a ban is deterring teens from picking them up.
Many parents seem to be convinced vaping is leading their kids into a life of vaping, if not smoking. According to one parent, “These new products shouldn’t be packaged as smoking cessation methods because users will believe that it’s better for them and start to smoke more of them, which in turn will end up being an alternative rather than a way to help them quit.” Making the entire situation more complicated is China’s place as a world leader in manufacturing. If vaping is significantly curbed there, it’s likely it would have some effect on the vaping industry around the globe.
What The Research Says
The negative perception of vaping has persisted despite a growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence. Back in 2015, we got our first large scale report which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. That report by Public Health England was big news at the time, but these days we get that sort of result often. A few months back a team of researchers concluded there are 93% more toxicants in cigarette smoke than e-liquid vapor. But the biggest news was a report published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which found the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is about 57,000 times lower than a demographically similar smoker.
Looking past the basic harm reduction value and we still have a lot to love about vaping. It’s been shown to be not only an effective smoking cessation tool but actually the single most likely to lead to a successful quit attempt. But what about the so-called impact on teens? Well, a study of over 60,000 students concluded only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer regularly. Which naturally means even fewer are ever making the jump from vaping to combustible cigarettes.
It’s truly awful to see such blatant and damaging misinformation influence the decision of so many parents. Vaping is one of the single best tools we have in the fight against tobacco, and far too many still believe vaping is just as, if not more dangerous than smoking. We simply must keep fighting if vaping is ever going to reach its full potential as a smoking cessation and harm reduction tool. With smoking still killing more people every year than any other preventable cause, it’s incredibly important we find safe and effective quit aids, just like vaping. If we ever want to end the tobacco epidemic once and for all, we ought to be supporting vaping, not undermining it.
Are you surprised by how many parents in Hong Kong think vaping is dangerous? What’s the best way to support vaping to those around you? What is the most crucial aspect of vaping to you? 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.