A study organised by Georgia State University has produced some alarming figures. From 2012 to 2017, the number of Americans who perceive electronic cigarettes to be dangerous has grown by a factor of 3. The principal author, Jidong Huang, offered various explanations to this surprising development.
Jidong Huang’s work was based on a sample of 5,000 testimonies by American citizens on their perception of vaping. The sample population were all over 18 years of age and contained both vaping enthusiasts and others who had never tried. The conclusion was clear: in the space of 5 years, Americans have become more suspicious of vaping products. This 300% increase is not anecdotal but rather points to a very real trend. The results, published in medical journal “JAMA Network Open”, are all the more convincing given they closely comparable to the results of another independent study by the National Cancer Institute, this time based on a sample of 3,000 Americans.
In 2017, 40% of Americans surveyed by Jidong Huang’s study team believed that electronic cigarettes were equally harmful to health, or even more harmful than traditional cigarettes. This rate was even higher in the National Cancer Institute study conclusions which indicated 60%. The variance in the percentage between both surveys can be explained by the fact that one had more detailed answers for survey participants to choose from. In the Georgia State University survey, participants could indicate that they did not know of any risks related to vaping.
Americans are more suspicious of vaping, and here’s why
Jidong Huang chose to focus on the reasons for this increase in negative perception towards vaping products, given e-cigs have been marketed in the USA for about a decade now. Surprisingly, even within the vaping community, people are worried about the health effects of their habit.
First of all, some consumers are worried about the addictive nature of electronic cigarettes. And of course, long-term health impacts are not known, given how recent the technology is. Jidong Huang highlighted the fact that it is critical to compare vaping product danger to that of traditional tobacco products. Recent studies have conclusively shown that cigarettes contain many times more toxic and cancerous compounds than their electronic counterparts.
The mainstream media in particular play a major role when it comes to influencing the perception of vaping. The press is slow to pick up on research that highlights the benefits of e-cigs, and are quick to report information that could point to vaping as being dangerous for health.