More Americans now think vaping is harmful

More americans now think vaping is harmful

(HealthDay)—Amid growing concern about the safety of e-cigarettes, more American adults now believe vaping is just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.

Between 2012 and 2017, the number of people who considered e-cigarettes less harmful than dropped significantly, according to an analysis of two surveys.

In one, the percentage fell 16 points—from 51 to 35 percent. In the other, the difference was smaller but still significant, dropping from 39 percent to 34 percent over the period.

These changes in attitude, "may deter some adult smokers from switching to e-cigarettes," said lead researcher Jidong Huang. He's associate professor of health management and policy at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

The study findings were published online March 29 in JAMA Network Open.

Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, said is moving in the right direction.

"The more we learn about e-cigarettes, the more dangerous they look," Glantz said. He noted that research has linked vaping with increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, respiratory disease and, possibly, cancer.

The belief that e-cigarettes are safer is looking less true every day, said Glantz, who wrote an editorial that accompanied the study.

"The fact that the public is perceiving that e-cigarettes are more dangerous over time is, in fact, an accurate perception," he said. "The idea that e-cigarettes are harmless is fading away, which is a good thing."

Over the study period, the percentage of American adults who viewed e-cigarettes as harmful rose, Huang's team found.

In 2012, 46 percent of respondents to the Health Information National Trends Surveys said e-cigarettes were as harmful as regular cigarettes, and that number rose to 56 percent in 2017. Over the same period, the number who considered e-cigarettes more harmful than regular cigarettes jumped from 3 percent to 10 percent.

Results were similar among participants in the Tobacco Products and Risk Perceptions Surveys. The percentage who considered e-cigarettes as bad as regular cigarettes rose from 12 percent in 2012 to 36 percent in 2017, and those who considered them more harmful rose from 1 percent to 4 percent.

But researchers also found cause for concern. Though e-cigarettes have been around for more than a decade, one-quarter of American adults were still unsure in 2017 how health risks for the two compared.

"The results of our study underscore the urgent need for accurate communication of the scientific evidence on the health risks of e-cigarettes to the American public," Huang said.

Erika Sward, assistant vice president for national advocacy at the American Lung Association, said it is foolish for to compare the safety of e-cigarettes to regular cigarettes. "Cigarettes are the most deadly consumer product on the market," she said.

But the myth persists that e-cigarettes are safe and a pathway to quitting, Sward said.

"The narrative that e-cigarette companies have been pushing since 2009 that these are a safer alternative, that they may help you quit, has been in the Big Tobacco playbook going back to the 1950s," she said.

Sward said there is "no safe and effective in terms of helping people quit." The vapor in e-cigarettes contains toxins and carcinogens that are unsafe, she noted.

"There is no safe product, including e-cigarettes," Sward said. "E-cigarettes only continue your nicotine addiction and expose you to dangerous chemicals. It's just another marketing technique from Big Tobacco."

Sward suggested that smokers who want to quit look instead to treatments that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found to be safe and effective.

Explore further

Millions try E-cigarettes, but many stop

More information: Jidong Huang, Ph.D., March 29, 2019, JAMA Network Open, online. DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.1047

To learn more about e-cigarettes, visit the American Lung Association.

Journal information: JAMA Network Open

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Citation: More Americans now think vaping is harmful (2019, March 29) retrieved 23 July 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Mar 29, 2019
You shouldn't need to be a doctor to know that if a product contains propylene glycol you have no business allowing it to be sold for vaporization and inhaling, and you certainly shouldn't buy it and inhale its vapors. That said, other compounds commonly found in these products are even more toxic, including vanillin and cinnamaldehyde. Consuming such with an expectation of no permanent long-term health consequences sounds like magical thinking to me. Some products may be relatively safe, others are profoundly unfit for consumption. A profound regulatory failure (perhaps they were too busy providing cover to the alcohol, tobacco, and opiod industries while also running interference against non-toxic cannabis users and growers).

Mar 29, 2019
Basically anything you do a lot of is going to damage you. It doesn't matter if it's sugar or drugs or booze or caffeine (technically all drugs really) or cigs. If people could have the odd puff every few months and be happy, those people have virtually no risk from ecigs. Unfortunately, nobody consumes such products in such a way. Generally if you are using them then you are doing so at least daily, if not 2-30x a day. At such levels it is basically inconceivable that you aren't doing severe damage to yourself above and beyond environmental influences. Even if smoking was 100% healthy, inhaling heated smoke above 140 degrees (scalding tea temps) has been shown to promote cancer growth in every affected internal pipe involved in the process.

Mar 30, 2019
I always figured, consuming a large number of chemicals through one's respiratory system has to have some health risks, duh.

Mar 31, 2019
Basically anything you do a lot of is going to damage you.

if you take too much of anything it will harm you, yes.

It doesn't matter if it's sugar or drugs or booze or caffeine (technically all drugs really) or cigs.

False. It does matter. What you don't seem to get is that, for example, smoking in ANY amount, no matter how small, harms you, while, say, sugar doesn't harm you if you take a small enough amount. Our bodies NEED sugar but our bodies do NOT need smoke; Big difference.

Mar 31, 2019
You shouldn't need to be a doctor to know that if a product contains propylene glycol you have no business allowing it to be sold for vaporization and inhaling

So that would include theater/club smoke machines, and a few medical inhalators as well.

Propylene glycol, or the carrier liquids in e-cigarettes aren't in themselves an issue. What makes them carcinogenic and inflammatory is the re-circulation through the heater element where you are re-inhaling the smoke through the vaporizer and it gets burned on the hot nichrome wire - that's what creates many of the same chemicals as in real tobacco smoke.

This is an engineering problem - the delivery method is fine, but the devices don't work as intended. What you actually need is a filter on the intake to keep the vapor from re-entering the heater, and the levels of toxic byproducts would drop dramatically.

Mar 31, 2019
The engineering problem comes from the fact that the air coming out of the heater has to be hot enough to vaporize the liquid, but not too hot to burn it or burn the user's mouth. With variable flow loss in an intake filter, the amount of air to the heater varies and the temperature of the air goes up with less flow, so you need to implement active temperature feedback.

Meanwhile, the cheap e-cigs they contract out to china only have a pressure switch to the battery to turn the heater on when you suck, and the rest is down to luck.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more