A large scale joint-study published recently concluded that nearly half of all adults now believe vaping is just as dangerous as smoking.
One of the most important, and longest standing, problems for the vaping industry is the poor public perception of the harm reduction and smoking cessation value they provide. Despite a growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence, many people still believe vaping is just as, if not more dangerous than smoking. As a result, legislators have had no trouble swooping in and taxing the industry to death, not to mention their current obsession, the pursuit of a nationwide e-liquid flavor ban.
Unfortunately, it seems that things are getting worse before they get any better, as a new report indicates that nearly half (45%) of all adults now believe vaping is just as harmful as combustible cigarettes. But perhaps the worst part is that public perception of vaping had been on the rise for years. Now it seems the government’s blitz against vaping over the last several has started to take its toll. However, vaping advocates remain resolute in their support of e-cigarettes, pointing to plenty of independent research which supports their harm reduction value.
The report was a joint undertaking between researchers at Georgia State University’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science and the National Cancer Institute. When the researchers were all said and done they had collected interview data from over 35,000 adults regarding their perception of vaping in relation to smoking tobacco. Their immediate takeaway was the startling rise in how many adults believe vaping is just as dangerous as smoking, as now as many as 45% of adults believe vaping is just as harmful. Even worse, the number of people who think vaping is less dangerous than smoking has moved in the opposite direction, dropping from 45% in 2012 to less than 35% now.
Other findings of the report weren’t much better. They concluded the number of people who believe vaping is even more dangerous than smoking is nearly ten times higher than it was in 2012, rising from 1.3% to 9.9%. The authors tried to make a case for vaping, stating that it’s a safer alternative to smoking. But they fell into a trap that ultimately reinforces false ideas about vaping by referring to e-cigarettes as a type of tobacco product. This small, but impactful, phrasing paints the picture that vaping is merely an alternative form of tobacco, such as cigars or chewing tobacco; Instead of the wholly different process and substance, it is.
The Differences Of Vaping
This apparent lack of public understanding is all the more frustrating due to the growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence clearly suggesting the value of vaping as a harm reduction or smoking cessation tool. Back in 2015, we got a massive report from Public Health England which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than continued smoking. While this made news at the time, this level of harm reduction has now been shown time and again. As recently as a few months back we got yet another report which found toxicants in smoke are about 93% higher than in e-liquid vapor. But it’s especially hard to argue with harm reduction provided once you learn about the report in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is about 57,000 times higher than a vaper from a similar demographic.
But it’s not just harm reduction value either. In fact, some people believe the most critical thing about vaping is actually the smoking cessation value. A report conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville tested all the most common quit aids and concluded not only is vaping effective, but it’s more likely to be successful than anything else. We even have substantial reason to believe the so-called teenage vaping “epidemic” is being overblown, as polls of over 60,000 teens found only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vaporizers regularly.
While the authors of this new report tried their best to support vaping, they may have ultimately made things worse. By referring to vaping as simply another tobacco product, it reinforces the false idea in the general public’s head that vaping is basically the same as smoking. But it’s not all bad news. While the perception of vaping seems to be getting worse, the number of people who are aware of vaping is higher today than ever. We must work on spreading all the positive information about vaping to the smokers in our lives; that’s the only way to truly improve the situation. If we ever want to ensure our vaping rights into the future, we must start there.
Are you surprised public perception seems to be getting worse? What’s the biggest problem facing vaping in your opinion? How should we spread positive information to those around us? 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.