The numbers are alarming, and indicate how many lives are being lost to smokers who would never consider switching to the safer alternatives that could potentially save their lives.
By 2017 the percentage of people who wrongly believed vaping was more harmful increased from 34% to 53%, and the number of smokers who had the correct information dropped from 57% to 38%.
“So what difference did four years of better products, academic studies, journal articles and commentaries, conferences and publicly funded risk communication make? Yes, it caused a deterioration in these already very bad numbers…those incorrectly believing e-cigs were just as harmful or worse than cigarettes had risen from 39.8% to 55.4%.” said public health expert Clive Bates when commenting on these figures.
On his blog, Professor of Medicine at the University of Louisville, and endowed chair in tobacco harm reduction research Brad Rodu, pointed out that in 2012, 38% of smokers correctly believed that vaping was safer than smoking and that percentage increased to 57% a year later. In those same years about 37% and 34% of smokers respectively, believed that e-cigarettes were equally or more harmful than regular cigarettes.
Tragically, by 2017 the percentage of people who wrongly believed vaping was more harmful increased to 53% and the number of smokers who had the correct information dropped to 38%. Professor Rodu also referred to unfortunate data released by the CDC last year which indicated that the number of smokers who used e-cigarettes also dropped from 6.3 million in 2014 to 4.1 million in 2016.
We have the authorities to thank for this misinformation
Undoubtedly these figures are the result of all the fear mongering and all the misinformation spread by top health and policy making organizations such as the FDA and the CDC. In December 2016, the former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, released the infamous report saying that increased e-cigarette use amongst young people is a “major public health concern”. He had urged lawmakers to implement even harsher regulations in relation to use amongst minors, instead of promoting the products for what they are, an opportunity for smoking cessation or at least, harm reduction.
Many public health experts, have been repeatedly pointing out that the spread of such misinformation will be detrimental to public health and have been urging lawmakers to look at scientific data before sharing such inaccurate facts.