The Turning Tide: Public Perception of Vaping

The acceleration of vaping in Ireland and beyond has really been something to behold. On an anecdotal level, there’s a good chance you’ve seen (but not smelled!) more and more vaping in public. As we’ve discussed, vaping cafes are springing up in Ireland (on both sides of the border).

Hard numbers

Observations aside, you might still be curious to know: how the official numbers stand on this issue; how many Irish smokers are aware of vaping; and how many intend to make the switch.

Judging by a survey from The Irish Cancer Society, the numbers are quite promising. “Amongst current smokers there is a 95% awareness,” it says of vaping. “Over 1 in 2 (56%) of those who are aware have tried with over 1 in 4 (26%) who have tried currently using. Intention to use in the next 6 months amongst smokers is extremely high with 45% stating they intend to use,” the report went on to say.

In an encouraging reveal, the survey finds that the number of vapers who become smokers is very small. “Just 5% of current smokers who have tried e-cigarettes claim they used the products prior to starting smoking.”

According to the Irish Cancer Society, “Most lung cancers (90-95%) are due to smoking”. This fact could possibly explain why so many consumers are making the switch to vaping. “The use of electronic cigarettes has grown significantly in Ireland in recent years. Research, carried out on behalf of the Irish Cancer Society in July 2014 found that there are currently 134,000 adults using e-cigarettes.”

Thanks to this research we now know, thousands of smokers are switching to vaping, but how well-known is the practice beyond the smoking community? It may surprise you to learn that overall awareness of vaping is at a whopping 90%. Research from the same survey also explains that many who do try vaping stick with it: “Over 9 in 10 Irish adults have heard of e-cigarettes with just under 1 in 5 (17%) having tried them before. There is a significant conversion from trial to current usage with over 1 in 3 who have tried e-cigarettes using them currently.”

Public perception and misinformation

In the United States, some misreading of studies about vaping has caused trust to diminish slightly, though 65% of smokers still believe vaping is safer. One example of misreading a study is a paper from Portland State University. This case resulted in one of the authors, David Peyton, claiming that the study findings were misrepresented in the media. “It is exceedingly frustrating to me that we are being associated with saying that e-cigarettes are more dangerous than cigarettes,” he told a local news site. “That is a fact not in evidence.”

Misinformation will always be one of the costs of a high profile. Despite this fact, the near universal awareness of vaping in some countries (including this one) accompanied by research stating that many smokers are intending to make the switch, it looks like vaping is here to stay.

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