Despite the best efforts of so-called experts and anti-tobacco groups to make electronic cigarettes look like dangerous devices that need to be banned along with tobacco cigs, a new study shows a big fraction of the US population has already heard about e-cigarettes and most consider them safer than analogs.
The increasing popularity of electronic cigarettes should come as no surprise, seeing as even Big Tobacco companies have acknowledged their qualities by investing in their own smokeless cigarettes or acquiring electronic cigarette suppliers. The media also has an important role in making e-cigs known to the world, even though most of the reports and articles in newspapers and on Internet websites have focused on the potentially negative effects these new devices may have on the human body. But a recent study conducted by researchers at the Schroeder Institute at the American Legacy Foundation proves any kind of publicity is good publicity, showing electronic cigarette awareness in America has reached 40%.
The Washington non-profit group that tries to address the health effects of tobacco use conducted two surveys on 6,000 adults nationwide. After analyzing their data, researchers found 40,2% of Americans have heard about electronic cigarettes, and over 70% of them believe they are safer to use than regular cigarettes. Results also showed that current smokers were more likely to have tried e-cigarettes than non-smokers, but no specific reason was identified. Jennifer Pearson, a research investigator at the institute said that “there could be various reasons for this, including that e-cigarettes are perceived as safer than regular cigarettes, are used as cessation devices, or are used to avoid smoke-free indoor air laws.”
Just last week we wrote a post about the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes in European countries like the Czech Republic, where almost 30% of the adult population has tried vaping, and now Legacy’s study confirms the world’s growing interest in electronic cigarettes. This can be considered proof that despite what some companies may think or hope, e-cigarettes are not just a passing fad. “While difficult to predict, we think it is possible that consumption of [electronic cigarettes] could outpace traditional cigarettes over the next decade, especially given the rapid pace of innovation and consumers’ demand for reduced harm products,” Bonnie Herzog, managing director, beverage, tobacco and consumer research at Wells Fargo Securities LLC, told CSN News. “As [e-cigarettes] continue to evolve and offer an experience that is increasingly similar to smoking a traditional cigarette, we think consumer acceptance and conversion will accelerate.”
According to Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University of Public Health and a supporter of electronic cigarettes, noted that a strong awareness of the e-cigarette “speaks to its likely usefulness to smokers in keeping away from tobacco cigarettes.” He added that the findings of this new study “suggest that electronic cigarettes have great promise as a harm reduction and smoking reduction/cessation strategy.”
But we didn’t put “controversial” in the title for no reason. Some of the finding in the study of the American Legacy Foundation were contested by experts like Michael Siegel and Bill Godshall, executive director of Smokefree Pennsylvania. Supposedly false or misleading claims include the description of e-cigs as “drug-delivery devices,” despite the fact they’ve been legally classified as tobacco products, that e-cigs are used “to avoid smoke-free indoor air laws”, or that using e-cigs and cigarettes is more hazardous than exclusive cigarette smoking. “The article draws a major conclusion which lacks supportive evidence and which has no relation to the findings actually reported in the paper,” Siegel added, referring to the paper’s call for a ban on e-cigarettes until the FDA regulates them as smoking-cessation devices.
We can only hope electronic cigarette reviews like ours have contributed to the increased awareness of the American public concerning these revolutionary devices.