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Vaping’s image problem in the EU

One is published recently Survey of Eurobarometer reveals a widespread lack of understanding of e-cigarettes. Most people don’t smoke or vapes and therefore there is little reason to educate themselves about these products, but it’s worrying that public understanding has faltered in recent years.

The survey found that of those with little or no experience with vaping, only 20% said that e-cigarettes and heating tobacco products help smokers quit. 70% think they don’t. The proportion of all respondents who believe that e-cigarettes are ‘bad for the health of users’ increased from 27% in 2012 to 65% in 2020. The survey did not ask what they meant by ‘yes’. and no one is claiming that e-cigarettes are completely risk-free, but there are indications elsewhere that the ordinary public thinks the risk is much greater. A study published last year found that 59% of Europeans mistakenly believe that vaping is more dangerous or dangerous than smoking.

Even in the UK, where health authorities mainly accept vaping, the number of smokers who think vaping is more dangerous or dangerous than smoking has increased from 36% in 2014 to 53% in 2020. Less than one a third of them believe – it is. – that vaping is less harmful than smoking and 40% of them mistakenly believe that nicotine causes cancer. A recent Public Health England report concluded that ‘perceptions of the harm caused by vaping versus smoking are increasingly inconsistent with the evidence’.

Evidence shows that vaping helps people to quit smoking. This has been shown in a series of gold-standard, randomized controlled trials of scientific evidence. Evidence from economic literature proves that e-cigarettes are a substitute for conventional cigarettes. If you decrease the demand for one, you increase the demand for the other. There is no serious academic belief that vaping is as harmful to health as smoking. Experts in this field have repeatedly stated that they are unlikely to carry more than 5% of the risks associated with smoking.

So why do most EU citizens believe the opposite? Part of that is because American ethical confusion about e-cigarettes has passed across the Atlantic. Scientific journals from California regularly appear in European newspapers. Chemical experiments on mice, zebrafish and other small animals have been improperly extrapolated to humans to create scary headlines and undermine public confidence in cigarettes. electronic.

The 2019 outbreak of so-called EVALI (e-cigarettes or vaping products related to lung injuries) was limited to North America but quickly became a global news story. Dozens of people, mostly young people, died from inhaling the black market THC oil mixed with Vitamin E acetate. It had nothing to do with conventional vaping, but activists brutally exploited the incident to depict e-cigarettes in the worst possible conditions.

As a result, people became more ignorant about vaping and smokers decided to take a ‘better than the devil you know’ approach. In the UK, 6% of adults are regular smokers, but this figure is only 2% in the EU and as of 2014. Most smokers in the EU have never even tried a cigarette. electronic and only 14% of them say. they find electronic cigarettes attractive.

Fear and doubt have led to intolerance. Hungary has banned e-cigarette flavors and the Netherlands has proposed to do the same. According to Eurobarometer, 47% of EU citizens would support such a ban, up from 40% in 2017. A staggering 71% of those with little or no experience with vaping thought e-cigarettes should be regulated. as strict as cigarettes.

The flip side of the EU’s low vaping rate is its high smoking rate. Smoking rates were almost unchanged from 2014 to 2020, decreasing from 26% to 25%. The EU itself did not help with the Tobacco Products Directive, which made e-cigarettes less attractive through small regulations and prevented vape companies from giving positive messages by limiting engineered a lot of their advertising.

Consumers cannot make a reasonable choice if they do not know the truth. What is revealed in Eurobarometer is worse than ignorance. People are systematically biased towards truth and this bias seems to get worse each year. While health campaigners are busy demanding visual warnings about alcohol and more labeling on food, public knowledge of e-cigarettes is lagging.

Vaping has developed an image problem. Governments, charities and companies need to do more to bring out the truth. One of the primary tasks of public health agencies is to educate the public about risk. In this case, the public has a dangerously inflated sense of risk. Whatever you think about nicotine use, it can’t be true that so many people have the perception of vaping contradicted the scientific evidence.

Vaping has the potential to make flammable cigarettes obsolete within a generation, and a decade after e-cigarettes appeared on the market, the EU has twelve times more smokers than people. smoke. A serious problem has occurred.

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