Latest Polls Indicate More Trouble For Vapers In America
A new Rasmussen report indicates America lags behind countries like the UK in public perception of vaping
Globally there have been many different reactions to vaping since it first came into prominence. Some governments, like Great Britain, have decided to accept vaping as a smoking cessation and harm reduction tool. They have encouraged citizens to utilize this technology with very promising results. Other countries have placed tight restrictions on vaping products. For example, in Australia, one has to get a prescription for e-cigarettes, and specially licensed pharmacists are the only ones who can dispense e-liquids. Some countries have even gone so far as to place an outright ban on any vaping products.
The US, in comparison to some, has relatively lax laws surrounding vaporizers on the federal level. Still, vaping in America is systemically ostracized. Several states have placed extremely high taxes and regulations on vaping products. Meanwhile, the FDA has been dangling the threat of a flavor ban or an outright ban if they feel it necessary. A recent announcement, made by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, made clear that he does not care about making e-cigarettes available for smokers so long as FDA stops what they are dramatically calling a teen vaping epidemic.
The CDC, earlier this year, estimated there are 37.8 million adults who smoke cigarettes in the United States. They also found that over 16 million are living with diseases that stem from smoking or exposure to cigarettes. So then why is the government not embracing this technology that has been scientifically proven to be one of the most effective methods of smoking cessation and harm reduction for smokers? A large part of that has to do with the fact officials are trying to deliver what is popular among the most people.
Rasmussen Reports, a trusted polling organization, recently published a report that had some very discouraging results for the vaping community in America. They found that nationally only 20% of respondents to a recent poll answered correctly that vaping is safer than smoking. Half believe vaping is not safer than smoking, and 13% believe vaping to be more dangerous. The other 17% had no opinion.
These numbers speak to a significant disconnect between what people believe from the media and what studies and reports are telling us. We time and again see reports about the dangers of smoking. The “Teen Vaping Epidemic” was just one of the sensationalized stories that made the rounds through various news sources. The widespread ignorance on the subject of vaping, in America especially, seems to stem from the media’s cherry picking. Often the scariest studies referenced are debunked or disproven shortly after their publication. The press ultimately chooses to show vaping as harmful, and those choices are reflected in the overall public perception.
The Real Facts
What the media doesn’t talk about are the studies that are scientifically unbiased, repeatable, and proven. A report by Public Health England, Great Britain’s public health agency, found that e-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than smoking combustible cigarettes. That report has been supported multiple times since it was first published in 2015. A more recent study, published in the Journal of Aerosol Science, found that a person’s likeliness of developing cancer, beyond their genetic disposition, was 57,000 times lower for a vaper compared to a smoker. A team at the University of California at San Diego found that the air quality of vape shops, where people were actively vaping, was nearly identical to regular air.
A study conducted at the University of Louisville took a look at smoking cessation products. They analyzed the effectiveness of going cold turkey, nicotine gums and patches, prescription drugs like Chantix, and vaporizers as tools to help people quit in real-world conditions. They found that of all the tools used in the experiment, e-cigarettes were the most effective at helping people quit and stay off cigarettes.
Concerning the teen vaping epidemic so many were worried about, a different study by Public Health England found that the vast majority of teen vapers were previously smokers. They found that the supposed gateway from vaping into smoking was practically non-existent and that only 0.1%-0.5% of non-smoking teens ever take up vaping in the first place.
While it is not surprising that the numbers of this Rasmussen report are so negative, it is still a significant problem. The media’s bias towards negative coverage of vaping is having a negative impact on the lives of so many. People need to be educated on the truth of the matter. Public perception is more easily shifted when legislatures become more supportive and encourage smokers to try vaping when other methods fail. If more smokers knew that picking up e-cigarettes is likely to improve their lives, vaping would be well on its way to reaching its full potential, and bringing us one step closer to a smoke-free America.
Do you think the media treats vapers unfairly? Is public perception of vaping a big problem for the community at large? Should we be working to change the mind of our peers or legislators first? 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.