Most Americans think vaping is as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes, or even worse, according to a new poll. That should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched the campaign to demonize vaping and nicotine explode during this decade.
Key findings of the poll were:
- 50% of Americans believe vaping is no safer than smoking cigarettes
- 13% believe vaping is less safe than smoking
- 20% believe vaping is safer than smoking
- 17% are unsure which is safer
The results come from a Rasmussen Reports poll released in August. Rasmussen is a national polling organization that collects public opinion samples on political, commercial, and lifestyle topics. The current vaping survey polled 1,000 U.S. adults by telephone or online. The results have a plus/minus three percentage point margin of error.
The pollsters asked two questions, both using the unfortunate and incorrect term “smoking electronic cigarettes”:
- Is smoking electronic cigarettes more safe or less safe than smoking traditional cigarettes, or is the health risk about the same?
- Do you favor or oppose the smoking of electronic cigarettes in public places?
The current poll results shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. Previous surveys and studies have found similar opinions. Analysis of survey data by researchers at Georgia State University showed that the number of Americans who believed that vaping was as harmful or more harmful than smoking tripled between 2012 and 2015.
Those were the years of vaping’s most explosive growth in the United States, and not coincidentally, also the time during which anti-vaping forces began a serious effort to change minds about the value of vaping as a smoking substitute.
In the years since 2015, the strategies of those determined to nip e-cigs in the bud has shifted wildly as they seek out targets that strike chords in the public mind. Nicotine has been a major focus, and a study last year showed that more than half of Americans believe nicotine is the main cause of cancer in smokers.
Recent anti-vaping campaigns tend to combine concerns over nicotine, flavors, and the fear than teenagers will vape and become addicted to nicotine, possibly even moving from vaping to combustible cigarettes. Of course, the meteoric rise of JUUL has given tobacco control activists an anchor for their anti-vaping media operations, and almost every press release and planted story since early this year has used teen juuling as a hook for spreading fear and mistrust of vaping.