A study on the Elsevier Science Direct website investigates how important efficient communication regarding the benefits of switching from smoking to vaping is.
The study is titled “Challenges in communicating the benefits of switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes: Responses from eight adult focus groups with varying smoking experience“.
I would say the majority of vapers have been presented with junk science and myths by the media, authorities and others who want to put them off vaping. Sadly these myths are preventing more people switching from dangerous cigarettes to the much safer alternative of e-cigarettes.
The basis of this study is to see how people react to the fact that vaping is considerably lower risk than smoking.
37 people from 8 adult focus groups were presented with a set of messages including current CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and ACS (American Cancer Society) warnings to see how they responded.
It appears (although not specifically mentioned) that it was limited to the USA?
The adults all had different smoking habits…
·12 were dual users (smoking and vaping)
·7 were ex smokers and current vapers
·18 were smokers who did not vape
21 hypothetical warning statements were given to the participants to judge their reaction.
Sadly a lot of the positive messages about the benefits of switching to vaping were greeted with scepticism by both smokers and vapers (which I find odd).
“Results indicate that a suggestion of health benefits from exclusive use of e-cigarettes was met with skepticism from users of e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes, and generated confusion about what these benefits were.”
The largest doubt reaction was to the statement “individuals who have switched to e-cigarettes should not switch back to combustible cigarettes”. Also mentioned was an element of mistrust by participants regardless of their smoking status.
Also shocking is that participants agreed with the statement “switching from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes still exposes the user to ongoing health risks”.
It looks like the “Anti-vape” propaganda is really being absorbed.
UK v US
Also compared are the different opinions of the authorities in the US and the UK.
The study says that the UK used more direct language to get the message across – for instance…
“The UK Health Security Agency (the UK version of the CDC) says the following: “Vaping isn’t completely risk free but is far less harmful than smoking tobacco. There is no situation where it would be better for your health to continue smoking rather than completely switching to vaping””
Versus the message from the US…
“The U.S. CDC has adopted the following type of statement: “In order for adult smokers to achieve any meaningful health benefits from e-cigarettes, they would need to fully switch to e-cigarettes and stop smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products completely””
Also mentioned is the amount of misinformation which people are subject to.
Apparently a significant proportion of the US population have been scared away from vaping due to issues such as the EVALI fiasco.
The study concludes that regulatory warnings need to be carefully worded to effectively get across the correct information in a believable fashion. This is more of a problem for the US who will need to create warnings for e-cigarette products that are authorised by the FDA (if any!)
“It may be that explicit statements concerning the health benefits or reduced risk from switching to e-cigarettes are necessary to effectively communicate with consumers.”
In the UK we have had the TPD warning stuff printed on vape gear for quite a while so we are kind of used to it!
It suggests that further research is needed to test out warning statements and to make sure the recipients feel that vaping is safer than smoking.