A new study indicates that anti-smoker and anti-vaper activists are doing a good job(unfortunately)

 

By Dr Farsalinos

A new study published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine found some worrying results about the perception of smokers about e-cigarettes and their relative risk compared to e-cigarettes. The investigators evaluated data from 3630 adults (50.5% women; 61.6% white, 13.7% Hispanic, 10% black,) older than 18 years who participated in the mail-in Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 4 Cycle 2). The survey was conducted by the National Cancer Institute between October 2012 and January 2013. More than half (58.1%) of the participants were nonsmokers, 22.4% were former smokers, and 18.5% were current smokers.

As expected, awareness about e-cigarettes was increased to 77% from 16% in 2009. However, only 51% of the current responders who noted awareness believe these products are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, with current smokers being 2.5 times more likely than nonsmokers to believe that e-cigarettes were less harmful.Among all individuals who said they were aware of e-cigarettes, the groups most likely to believe e-cigarettes were less harmful than tobacco cigarettes were younger, better educated, and were current smokers.However, in 2010, 84.7% of the smokers surveyed believed e-cigarettes were less harmful vs 65% of smokers in the current study. The authors stated: “"This indicates, perhaps, that skepticism and/or concerns are starting to develop," the researchers said in a release.

However, the results are extremely worrying for the public health community. There is absolutely no doubt that, based on all currently available scientific evidence, e-cigarettes are by far less harmful that tobacco cigarettes. The only existing scientific debate and dispute is about the absolute harm-potential of e-cigarettes. Anyone who believes that the relative risk is comparable to tobacco cigarettes is simply ignorant or is deliberately lying. The finding that people (especially smokers) do not believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes is a clear indication that the part of the tobacco control movement who is ideologically opposing e-cigarettes are doing a pretty good job in MISINFORMING the public. By doing this, they are directly harming the smokers, who may be thinking of using e-cigarettes as alternatives to smoking but are now discouraged from doing this. Moreover, they are creating a social clash within the society between vapers and non-smokers/non-vapers, by targeting the vapers as users of an unhealthy product, in a similar way that smokers have been targeted in the past.

 This situation is extremely damaging for public health. It is an ethical duty and obligation of all scientists to present the truth to the public and stop playing games which cost lives every day. Fear-mongering and intimidation, based on theories which cannot stand in front of common sense, should not be allowed to conquer. We should be sympathetic to smokers and help them get rid of cigarettes, instead of demonizing them and punishing them for the inability of medicine to develop a very effective smoking cessation medication.. E-cigarettes and other tobacco harm reduction products represent a unique opportunity that we never had in the past, an opportunity to allow people take control of their own health, eliminate combustible nicotine products and reduce smoking related disease and death on a global level.

   

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