Despite almost universal vaping backing from mainstream science worldwide, the proportion of U.S adults who think e-cigs are as harmful or more harmful than regular tobacco has tripled.
Most scientific figures, health organisations and medical personnel frequently absolve e-cigarettes and provide evidence for their findings, making the new study into US adults a discombobulating one.
According to tobacco researchers in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University – the team that carried out the study – the statistics show that more accurate public health messaging must be highlighted.
The study investigated the Tobacco Products and Risk Perception surveys from 2012 to 2015 and examined perceptions of harm and addictiveness of e-cigarettes. 16,000 U.S adult smokers participated in the study.
“Although the impact of long-term use of e-cigarettes on health is still unknown, the available scientific evidence indicates that e-cigarettes are less harmful than combustible cigarettes, and that smokers switching to e-cigarettes could benefit from a decrease in health risks related to smoking combustible cigarettes.”
The results are rather alarming for e-cig advocates as they showed that the perception of e-cigarette harm among U.S adults is growing. 35% of the surveyed say they think e-cigs are as harmful or worse than regular cigarettes, a 12% increase from 2012.
Moreover, the proportion of smokers who believed e-cigs are addictive doubled from 25% to 57%. Non-smokers provided a similar result.
E-cigarettes are widely considered 95% safer than regular cigarettes, and have not showed an oxidative heart cell stress response, unlike regular tobacco.
“The findings underscore the urgent need to convey accurate information to the public, especially adult smokers, about the available scientific evidence of the harm of e-cigarettes compared to combustible cigarettes,” said the study.
“Our public health messages should accurately convey to cigarette smokers that switching completely to e-cigarettes would reduce their risks even if e-cigarettes are addictive and not risk-free,” said Dr. Michael Eriksen, of Georgia State’s School of Public Health and a renowned expert in tobacco control.
The real question is, what is causing this anxiety and scepticism of e-cigs among US adult smokers? Is it the unrelenting regulation or a few erroneous health reports?