Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Vaping's image problem

A new Eurobarometer survey came out last month looking at attitudes towards vaping in the EU. It makes grim reading. Things are going backwards on every level.

I wrote about this for New Europe

The survey shows that among those who have little or no experience with vaping, only 20 per cent think e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products help smokers quit. Seventy per cent think they do not. The proportion of all respondents who believe that e-cigarettes are ‘harmful to the health of their users’ increased from 27 per cent in 2012 to 65 per cent in 2020. The survey does not ask what they mean by ‘harmful’ and no one claims that e-cigarettes are completely risk-free, but there are indications elsewhere that the average member of the public thinks the risks are much greater than they are. A study published last year found that 59 per cent of Europeans wrongly believe that vaping is as dangerous or more dangerous than smoking.

Things aren't much better in Britain. 

Even in England, where health agencies have largely embraced vaping, the number of smokers who think vaping is as dangerous or more dangerous than smoking rose from 36 per cent in 2014 to 53 per cent in 2020. Less than a third of them believe – correctly – that vaping is less harmful than smoking and 40 per cent of them wrongly believe that nicotine causes cancer. A recent report from Public Health England concluded that ‘perceptions of the harm caused by vaping compared with smoking are increasingly out of line with the evidence’.


And do tune in to the Epicenter webinar 'Harm Reduction or Humbug?' tomorrow at 1pm GMT where I'll be on a panel talking about it.

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