While panic and concern about vaping keeps spreading across the US due to the EVALI outbreak and concerns about teen vaping, British medical and health authorities, including the National Health Service and Public Health England, have fully endorsed vaping as a smoking cessation method and keep urging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes.
Sadly, this positive stance is still not rubbing off on the UK public as intended. The survey sought to identify the UK public’s views on using e-cigarettes as a smoking-cessation tools, and whether they believe that the devices have a public-health benefit.
The PHE’s endorsement of e-cigs is not rubbing off on the public
When asked about the US fear-based narrative surrounding vaping, the majority of the participants (40.4%) said they didn’t have an opinion because they didn’t have enough information about it. While over a third (35%) said that they were concerned about the EVALI-related deaths.
A quarter (24.4%) said they were “not at all” influenced by the US panic surrounding vaping, about one-third of the respondents (31.2%) said that they believed that all the vape-related concern was possibly hyped up by the media, and 14.6% said it was definitely unfounded. Approximately 22.2% believed that the media reports were accurate and 32% said that they didn’t know.
Many people would discourage a smoker from switching to e-cigs
When asked whether they would encourage a smoker they knew to switch to e-cigarettes in order to quit smoking, almost half (48.9%) said that they wouldn’t, 31.5% said that they might and 19.6% said that they definitely would. Respondents were also asked whether they believed vaping could help Britain achieve the smoke-free status that the government is aiming for by 2030. A total of 42.7% didn’t think so, 17.2% believed that vaping may help and 11.2% agreed that it could help.
On reviewing the compiled data, the researchers concluded that the media headlines are having a very negative impact on the public. “Our survey shows that most people are put off vaping by the negative media coverage, while at the same time they are not trustful of these news stories — most especially from the sensationalist tabloids,” said Electric Tobacconist Managing Director, Pascal Culverhouse.
“And we also know that many people just don’t have the facts about vaping as an effective way to get off cigarettes and boost public health in the UK. There’s still a lot of misinformation and lack of understanding.”