Fake news is turning adult smokers off vaping and hampering our chances of a future free from cigarettes11.10.20
Misinformation on the effects of vaping continues to dominate the media landscape and it’s our belief that, if left unchecked, it could undo years of progress in helping adult smokers switch to less harmful alternatives.
Research recently published in The Times paints a concerning picture: the number of vape users in Britain has declined from 3.6 million to 3.2 million, a drop of 400,000 in just one year. The charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) laid the blame squarely at the huge amount of often inaccurate and negative information about vaping in the past 12 months.
Clearly there is still a mountain to climb in encouraging adult smokers to transition to less harmful ways of enjoying nicotine. This challenge is compounded by a fundamental misunderstanding among many adult smokers as to the benefits vaping offers – according to the same report in The Times, only 39% of smokers correctly believe that vaping is less harmful than smoking.
Coupled with the reports of lung injuries (EVALI) and deaths in the US in 2019 linked to vaping – which were due to black market vapes containing THC liquids cut with vitamin E acetate – misinformation and continuous negative media coverage have undermined the reputation of the vaping industry and the role vaping can play in tobacco harm reduction. Vitamin E acetate, the additive linked to the EVALI outbreak in the US, is not used in e-liquids made by reputable manufacturers like Imperial Brands.
The news of the decline in vaping rates in Britain coincided with the publication of a Cochrane Review, the gold standard in collating evidence on topics such as medical research, which revealed e-cigarettes were more effective than traditional nicotine replacement therapies as a tool to help adults transition away from smoking. You can find Imperial Brands summary of the review here.
This year, the UK passed a further milestone in its efforts to reduce the prevalence of smoking, which fell to an all-time low of 13.9%. However, this achievement could be undermined if adult smokers lose confidence in vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking cigarettes.
It’s essential that adult smokers fundamentally have confidence in vaping and the benefits it can bring as a less harmful alternative to smoking. Without having this trust and easy access to objective information, the potential of next generation products such as vaping will never be truly realised.