The number of people who are now vaping has reached an all-time high. According to a newly released Reuters/IPSOS poll of 9,766 adults surveyed, 10% use electronic cigarettes or vaporizers. Extrapolating that nationally translates into potentially 30 million vapers. There is a flip side to this that is concerning and that is that this same poll also showed that ecig and vaping misinformation is impacting public opinion.
The best news is that with vaping, cigarette smoking is at an all-time low. The smoking rate is now 15.1%, a big decrease from 2015. The worry is that those smoking rates could actually increase given the current climate of misinformation and the potential for crushing regulation that could drive vapers back to smoking. Many vapers have indicated that they would resort to cigarettes if vaping was no longer an option. Imagine what could happen to smoking rates if even a quarter of current vapers went back to tobacco.
The potential havoc that FDA regulations could cause will obviously benefit cigarette sales for a number of reasons. Obviously the misinformation and continuing to ignore the growing body of scientific evidence on the part of the media is framing vaping in a negative light. That will cause current smokers to assume that there is no benefit to switching to vaping and essentially give them license to keep smoking. It is a dangerous brand of false rhetoric that is emanating from anti-vaping groups, many of which are tax payer funded.
Here are the numbers of ecig misinformation and how those numbers have changed in the last year. 47% of adults now believe that ecigs are as harmful as tobacco. That is a 9% increase from the 2015 number when 38% of adults believed that vaping was as bad as smoking. This number has increased in spite of major announcements in the last year from health officials in the rest of the world. In the UK, Public Health England announced that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. The Royal College of Physicians now actually recommends that smokers switch to vapor. These developments have not gained traction in the United States and were given miniscule media attention.
The rest of the numbers go like this: – 43% of US adults (39% in 2015) believe ecigs don’t help smokers quit despite CDC ecig data to the contrary – 49% of US adults (42% in 2015) believe ecig vapor is as harmful as 2nd hand cigarette smoke despite evidence to the contrary – 66% of US adults (61% in 2015) believe ecigarettes are addictive despite no evidence, remember there is a lot more to cigarette addiction than just nicotine
As you can see, the lies about ecigs, especially the juicy scary ones that the media loves so much, are working. The general public is being swayed by the lies about vaping. How do anti-vaping groups use misinformation to sway public opinion? Take a look at what the CDPH does to attack vaping in California.
There is another issue with the impending FDA vaping rules and smoking and that is the type of vaping products that may be available if the FDA position remains intact. This issue is something that we already see with the new data from Reuters/IPSOS vaping survey. Specifically, 57% of smokers who try vaping keep smoking because vaping did not satisfy the craving to smoke a cigarette. The problem is that a large part of the market is dominated by retail and convenience store ecigarettes, the Big Tobacco brands, and the lower quality of these devices leaves smokers unsatisfied.
So it stands to reason that if the vaping market becomes dominated by the Big Tobacco brands, the quality and variety of vaping devices available will not move smokers away from tobacco and into less harmful vapor. There are a number of vicious cycles evolving in the US and we are left with the hope that somehow sanity will eventually win out. If you want to join the fight, you can get involved. Join CASAA. Find out more here.