The study authors searched Access World News and Factiva databases for e-cigarette-related news articles appearing in the top 30 circulating newspapers, 4 newswires, and 4 online news sources in the United States in 2015.
One may add that if this topic was already so prevalent in 2015, the percentage would be certainly higher now in 2018, following the recent alarmist headlines mainly centered around Juul and teen vaping.
Not surprisingly, another hot topic was the infamous ‘gateway theory’ at 33.9%, and the appeal of flavors at 22.4%. Once again, the percentages on these topics may be even higher today, despite the available science that dispels these fears.
The researchers found that youth vaping prevalence was mentioned more often than adult prevalence, at 61% vs. 13.5%, respectively. Additionally, news articles discussed the potential risks of the devices more often than their benefits at 80% vs 45.4%. Similarly, quoted health bodies were more often mentioned relative to the dangers of the devices rather than the benefits.
The media supported the deeming rule
However, they added, “While such coverage may inform the public about potential e-cigarette risks, they may also contribute to increasing perceptions that e-cigarettes are as harmful as tobacco cigarettes.” The researchers pointed out that unfortunately such coverage may have impacted “e-cigarette risk perceptions, use intentions and policy support.”
The media still spreading misinformation
A recent study has indicated that this is indeed the case. A recent poll by Rasmussen, a national polling organization that collects public opinion samples on political, commercial, and lifestyle topics, has indicated that most Americans are still misinformed about the relative benefits of e-cigarettes.
The poll which was released last August, collected data from 1,000 U.S. adults online or by telephone, and has indicated that sadly, the large majority of American citizens think that vaping is as bad for one’s health as smoking, if not worse.