The study titled, “Inclusion of electronic nicotine delivery systems in indoor smoke-free air policies and associated vaping behavior,” was carried out by researchers at the Indiana University School of Public Health in the US.
The study analyzed data from the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults, consisting of 240,849 participants aged between 18 and 59. The researchers conducted stratified analyses by age groups in order to determine whether the association between vaping bans and e-cig use would be different in different age groups.
The study highlighted the effect of vaping bans. “Adults living in the states with an aerosol-free policy were less likely to use ENDS compared with those living in the states without an aerosol-free policy, controlling for individual- and state-level covariates (adjusted odds ratio = 0.79, 95% confidence interval = 0.64, 0.97). Stratified analyses showed that the association varied by age group; the statewide aerosol-free policies was associated with lower odds of ENDS use only in adults aged 25-59 but not young adults (aged 18-24).”
Vaping bans send the wrong message
The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) has long pointed out that the use of safer nicotine products can provide can benefit public health. In an article on its website, the organization referred to the UK smoking ban implemented in 2007, pointing out how as a result of it smokers are now aware of harming those around them, but also believe that their habit is detrimental to their health.
“Cancer Research UK has long expressed concerns that public perception about the relative safety of e-cigarettes compared to smoking is declining rather than increasing.”
Therefore added the NNA, when similar bans are imposed on safer alternatives, it sends the wrong message to the public.
“The NNA has argued against this huge downside to arbitrary – and often lazy – vaping bans consistently in the past few years to anyone who will listen. We gave evidence to MPs to that effect as well as urging public health groups supportive of reduced risk products to consider the negative connotations that such bans can have on the public’s understanding and to do more to counteract it.”
The agency added that in fact public opinion about the relative safety of e-cigarettes is getting worse not better! “The deficit in understanding of the safer nature of vaping in the UK has been spoken about for quite some time. Cancer Research UK has long expressed concerns that public perception about the relative safety of e-cigarettes compared to smoking is declining rather than increasing.”
“…. and evidence submitted to the government’s Science and Technology Committee by the Royal Society of Public Health described the deficit in understanding very well: Research has shown that perceptions of harm can indeed inhibit the use of e-cigarettes among smokers, and this barrier will only be exacerbated if the concerns of the public go unaddressed,” added the charity.
The campaign “Challenging Prohibition” addresses the current misinformation about vaping
The organization said that the negative messages and misinformation about vaping, need to be addressed urgently, and its campaign Challenging Prohibition aims to do just that. “This latest research succinctly shows that bans on vaping in public venues are an obstacle to adult smokers switching. It agrees with the NNA’s consistent messaging that bans are harmful and is now officially recorded in the literature. We hope that those in public health who believe in harm reduction will take this more seriously and dedicate resources to tackle the threat of bans which have no evidential, moral or health-related justification,” concluded the NNA.