The Rasmussen poll was just the latest to indicate that the public’s understanding of vaping is severely lacking
Since hitting the scene, vaping has been hit with criticism time and again. Parents and politicians seem to view it as a sinister alternative to tobacco products, designed to lure young people into smoking cigarettes. Looking at the ample amount of research that has been done on the subject we find that vaping is what it claims to be, a fantastic resource for former smokers. Vaping is helping this population to quit traditional cigarettes and reduces the harmful effects of continued smoking.
Legislators at this point are still firmly rooted in a stance against the acceptance of vaping. They feel that the acceptance of these products, legally or socially, would lead to teens and young adults thinking it is entirely harmless. What research and surveys have found up to this point is that it is extremely rare for non-smokers, including non-smoking teens, to take up vaping. The scenarios lawmakers seem most afraid of are then anecdotal at best. Unfortunately, when you break it down, many adults don’t truly understand the value vaping has, and the improvements it can bring to the lives of those quitting smoking. A recent Rasmussen poll has supported this, as it indicates the public perception of vaping is not improving and is getting worse.
The New Poll
The new poll, funded by Rasmussen Reports and conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, surveyed over 1000 American adults and was published this month. The findings were that only 20% of adults understand and believe that vaping is safer than smoking. Making matters worse, close to 65% of the people surveyed were under the misunderstanding that vaping is as bad as, if not worse than, smoking combustible cigarettes.
Comparing these results to others that have been done in the past offers mixed feedback. A poll conducted last year by Action on Smoking and Health shows 13% of those surveyed feel that vaping is safer than smoking. Obviously, 13% to 20% shows a 7% increase in the number of people who know vaping is safer. However comparing the rate of individuals who feel it is just as bad or worse than smoking, shows a drastic increase from 26% to 65%. Overall it seems that more people are aware of vaping, but that awareness is mostly in a negative light.
Evidence for Vaping
While the beliefs and perceptions of the public are not encouraging, the factual and scientific evidence gathered by the masses of peer-reviewed research is. The vast majority of the research done to study vaping and its effects on the body have legitimized the harm reduction and smoking cessation value. Mainstream media, unfortunately, prefers to put out false and misleading information for their own financial benefit. It is for that reason that you rarely come across news programs or articles talking about how Public Health England conducted a study that found vaping 95% safer than smoking. Even since 2015, when PHE first published their paper, there have been dozens of other reputable sources touting vaping’s harm reduction. For instance, a study published in The Journal of Aerosol Science found that the excess cancer risk of a vaper is 57,000 times lower than that of a smoker.
Research also supports vaping as the leading smoking cessation tool. A team from the University of Louisville conducted a study that looked at smoking cessation and the tools currently on the market to help people quit. This included going cold turkey, patches, gums, and prescriptions like Chantix. The results showed that vaping was the most successful tool in helping people to quit smoking.
Some people may say it doesn’t matter to them what people think about their vaping, but public perception is vital for vaping’s future. Without the support of the general public, which includes non-smokers and non-vapers, vaper’s rights will be difficult to maintain and keep. For vaping to stay legal legislators have to believe that it is safe. In order for that to happen the general public needs to understand it is safe. If people are willing to be open-minded and learn the real value vaping offers to society, we will be one step closer to a world without cigarettes, a step closer to a longer living population.
Is gaining better public understanding a key to the continued growth of vaping? How should we be trying to teach people about vaping? How important do you think vaping is for the public’s health? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.