Poll: Shocking Ignorance On Risks Of E-Cigs Thanks To ‘Dishonest’ And ‘Unethical’ Tactics

Guy Bentley | Research Associate, Reason Foundation

The majority of Americans are woefully misinformed about the health effects of vaping, with public health campaigners bearing the brunt of the criticism for spreading scare stories about the dangers of e-cigarettes.

A poll conducted for the Boston Globe and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that only 44 percent of Americans believed e-cigarettes to be less harmful than smoking tobacco.

Almost a third of the public — 32 percent — said they thought vaping was just as harmful as tobacco, while six percent actually thought vaping was more dangerous than tobacco. Fourteen percent said they couldn’t answer the question. E-cigarettes contain no tobacco and have not yet been linked with lung cancer or any other smoking related diseases.

The poll brought even more bad news for the burgeoning e-cigarette industry, with 64 percent supporting taxing vapor products at the same rate regular cigarettes. On the issue of banning different flavored vaping products, a popular target among e-cigarette critics, 48 percent of those polled opposed a ban while 46 percent supported one.

The findings may come as a shock to many in the vast majority of the health community who readily acknowledge that e-cigarettes are far less dangerous than tobacco products. In August, a study commissioned by Public Health England concluded e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than tobacco and could be “game-changer” for getting people to quit smoking.

“Let’s be clear — there is no doubt in the scientific community that vaping is far less hazardous than inhaling burning tobacco smoke.  The fact that more than half of the American population can’t answer this question accurately is a scandal,” said Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association.

The e-cigarette industry is already facing a life or death situation with proposed FDA regulations that could wipe out 99 percent of vaping products.

Supporters of vaping warn that a heavy-handed approach to regulating and taxing the e-cigarettes could hurt those desperately trying to give up smoking and cost lives in the process.

According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Nov. 2 a little over 20 percent of current smokers who had tried to give up in the last year were using e-cigarettes. Conley argues the figure could be much higher if it wasn’t for “dishonest and unethical campaign tactics” of the opponents of e-cigarettes.

“The public health establishment should be called to task for their role in misinforming Americans about these reduced harm technology products,” said Conley.

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Guy Bentley

Research Associate, Reason Foundation

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