Even with all the research pointing in the opposite direction, it would seem that many Americans still think smoking cigarettes is less dangerous than vaping. In a recent poll from USA Today, the question posed was “Do you think that vaping is safer than smoking traditional cigarettes?” Shockingly, 13 percent of those that answered said “No, cigarettes are safer.”
Again and again, this has been proven false. While both cigarettes and many vape products require the consumption of nicotine, a compound that is not inherently bad for human consumption, that does not make them equal health risks. Many of the problems caused by smoking come from the carcinogenic effects of burning and inhaling the smoke of plant material, and from the additive chemicals found in cigarette tobacco processing and manufacturing.
This poll, which had just over 1,000 participants, reveals quite a bit more about the odd public misconception of vaping than it does about the dangers of vaping. What may be most interesting is the demographic breakdown, which allows you to see how different groups voted in the poll.
In one of the more obvious bits of information that came out of this was that 49 percent of vapers believe that vaping is safer. Interestingly, 35 percent of vapers believed there isn’t enough research yet to know for sure. Where the most intriguing bits of information is revealed in how each age group voted in this poll.
Generational Misunderstanding of Vaping
The USA Today poll shows that 21 percent of people ages 18-24 believe that vaping is safer, while 45% are holding out for more research. Ages 35-54 are more skeptical with 10 percent saying vaping is safer, 13 percent saying cigarettes are safer, and 47 percent saying there needs to be more research.
Where things start to get more revealing is in the 55+ age range. Of the 444 people in the 55+ age group that answered the poll, representing almost half of the poll, 15% of them said that cigarettes are safer to consume than vaping and only 5 percent saying that vaping was more safe.
This disparity in perception can likely be attributed to older generations having a hard time understanding and coping with new technologies. Sometimes, that means you have to help your mom with her new iPhone. Other times, that means your favorite hobby gets banned by the federal government for no good reason whatsoever.
What About the Vaping Ban?
Along with the safety question that we covered above, USA Today also covered the proposed flavored vaping ban as well. Of the roughly 1,000 people asked whether or not they support a ban on flavored vape juice, 41 percent said they were strongly in support of a ban. Not regulation, not more research, just an outright ban on flavored e-juices that we know are not responsible for any of the health issues people are concerned about.
No surprise here either, as the 55+ demographic answered with a whopping 59 percent believe there should be a total ban on flavored vape juices.
Taking things one step further, the poll also asked people whether or not they would support a total ban on vapes. The results of this one are shocking, with 33 percent of the poll saying they strongly support a ban on all vapes. Those numbers are scary if you’re a vaper that really understands what’s going on here. Banning all vapes would inevitably leave it up to the black market for people to find the products they want and deserve, and it would only increase the number of people being heard by mishandled, unregulated products.
88 percent of those answering the poll believe that all vape products should be required to list the ingredients on the packaging, as well as the risks involved with vaping and nicotine. This is an interesting data point for a couple reasons. One, the FDA already requires this kind of ingredient information. And second, the FDA already requires nicotine products to have warnings comparable to the ones you find on cigarette packaging.
This is just one more way that the public seems totally misinformed on how vaping products are consumed and distributed. With so many of the victims of this new lung illness reporting that they weren’t vaping nicotine in the first place, you really have to wonder how much of the outrage is being pushed in the right direction. When you create a black market through prohibition and prevent people from consuming safe products legally, they will often turn to that unregulated market and become exposed to unsafe products. Perhaps outrage should be targeting unnecessary bans on THC products that create this black market and heightened risk for consumers.
What We’ve Learned
Before this situation flies out of control, it’s important that we recognize vaping for what it has been for so many people, one of the best possible ways to quit smoking, a dangerous habit. There are an incredible number of inspiring stories from our customers talking about how vaping has changed their life for the better.
So the best way to affect change in your community is to find your nearest boomer, and explain to them why vaping isn’t the culprit for these new health problems. And while you’re at it, you can explain to them why vaping is clearly a healthier way to consume nicotine. Maybe let them take a quick drag off of your new SuperGood Pod.
But, in all seriousness, it’s important that vapers make their voices heard as we come into the next voting session from the US federal government. Let your representatives know that you want lawmaking to be a fact-based process, not one that reacts fearfully from speculation and misguided concern. Let them know that vaping is safer than smoking, and then an unregulated black market of THC cartridges are the real problem here, and that they better vote accordingly on any kind of heinous ban the government tries to pass.
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