The Harvard University TH Chan School of Public Health has published the results of a survey regarding American’s understanding of ecigs and vaping. The results of the Harvard ecig survey essentially confirm that the misinformation campaign being waged by special interests in this country is working. Americans in general are horribly misinformed about ecigarettes and vaping.
The Harvard ecig survey involved 1,014 adults. 76% of respondents had never used ecigarettes whereas 23% had tried ecigarettes. As you might expect, the people who have tried ecigarettes are better educated in the subject area and had a much more positive view of vaping as opposed to those who have never tried ecigs.
For people who have never tried ecigs, their opinions are formed by what they see in newspaper headlines or in 2 minute sound bites of the 11 o’clock news. As we well know, those mediums are heavily influenced by the same special interests that have a lot to gain if ecigs are regulated into oblivion.
We have seen endless stories about ecigs leading to teen smoking. Of course when you look at the data that conclusion is exposed as nothing shy of ridiculous. Out of almost 800 kids surveyed and 6 of them tried an ecig before smoking cigarettes and based on that the headlines across the country cried out that vaping was leading teens to smoke! This claim is made despite the fact that teen smoking is at an all-time low.
We have also seen a lot of media attention spent on the outlandish claim that electronic cigarettes are more toxic than regular cigarettes. This story revolves around the formaldehyde in ecigs claim that has been totally debunked. The only way to get ecigs to generate measurable toxins is to use a horrible product and misuse it. If this happens the vapor would be so terrible that it is 100% inconceivable that any human being would ever vape an overheating ecig. Most people see right through this claim and only 12% of respondents actually believe that ecigs are worse than smoking.
The reality is much different. Public Health England has proven that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. PHE is actually deeply troubled by the fact that the British public is misinformed about ecigs. They are aware that this misperception is actually putting smoker’s lives at risk. That really is the most awful part of all of this. Big Tobacco is the big winner of the ecig misinformation campaign and they are smiling all the way to the bank.
Harvard eCig Survey
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Let’s get to the data that was gathered by the Harvard ecig survey. The study was titled Americans’ Perspectives On e Cigarettes . As mentioned, this was a survey of 1,014 adults who agreed to a telephone interview.
The first question asked was whether or not people though that ecigs were harmful, not harmful or don’t know. Well 65% of respondents said that ecigs were harmful, 23% said that ecigs were not harmful and 12% did not know.
Most experts agree that ecigs are safer than smoking. Even Tom Frieden at the CDC, who truly hates ecigs, when pressed will admit that ecigs are “stick for stick” less harmful than cigarettes. Studies show that vaping is 1200 % less toxic than smoking. Despite these facts and admissions, the Harvard ecig survey shows how badly the public is misinformed about electronic cigarettes.
When asked is ecigarettes were safer than tobacco cigarettes the results were split down the middle. While 44% of respondents felt that ecigs are safer than smoking, an equal 44% felt that ecigs were either just as bad as cigarettes or even worse. I spoke to someone who shared the view that ecigs are just as bad if not worse than cigarettes. He did not want to be named I can tell you that he is someone who has unsuccessfully tried a variety of smoking cessation methods. He has never tried an ecig and has no intention of doing so because, as he told me, “They (ecigs) are worse as bad so I might as well smoke the real thing.”
This is the negative consequence of the misinformation campaign being carried out by special interests. Lives are actually being put at risk as a result of these purposeful deceptions. Had Big Pharma invented the ecig there is little doubt that the media, public health officials and politicians would be referring to ecigs as technological, life-saving miracles. This is a case of special interests rigging the game.
Back to the Harvard ecig survey. People were asked if they believed that ecigs actually help people quit smoking. 38% said yes, ecigs can help people quit smoking. 15% did not know. 47% actually believe that ecigs do not help people quit smoking. The idea that ecigs do not help people quit has been a favorite of anti-vaping activists. If you are one of the millions that has quit smoking with ecigs, apparently you don’t exist. I guess now you know how Big Foot and space aliens feel.
The claims that vaping leads to teen smoking have successfully had an impact on public opinion. 56% of people believe that ecigs do increase teen smoking. 33% say that ecigs make no difference. 6% said that ecigs make teens less likely to smoke and 5% don’t know. This is a case where if you get the media to repeat something often enough, it will be believed. Interestingly enough, Yale University came out with a study that showed that ecigs reduce teen smoking. Also teen smoking rates are at an all time low.
The subject of eliquid flavors was asked and 48% believe fruit and candy flavors should be banned and 48% believe that fruit and candy flavors should be allowed. 90% believe that ecigs should only be sold to people over 18 years of age. 64% said that ecigarettes should be taxed. 94% said ecigs should have a nicotine warning label. Finally, 69% say that ecigs should not be allowed in indoor public places.
The Harvard ecig survey provides a solid understanding of where public opinion lies in regards to electronic cigarettes. Given where public opinion is, the vaping community clearly has work to do when it comes to better educating the public as well as combating the misinformation of highly funded and connected special interests. Otherwise, the path to oppressive ecig regulation will be an easy one for vaping opponents.