Nav: Home

US smokers don't believe vaping is less harmful than smoking

June 14, 2018

Warsaw, June 15th - A growing proportion of U.S. adults do not believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking, according to an analysis of the U.S. Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study data from 2013 to 2015 presented today at the fifth Global Forum on Nicotine conference.

The analysis of the latest PATH data (a national longitudinal study of tobacco use among youth and adults in the USA) suggests that the proportion of adult current smokers who believed e-cigarettes were just as, or more, harmful than smoking increased substantially from 43% in 2013 to 57% in 2015.

"It's concerning that despite a growing body of scientific evidence* that vaping is less harmful than smoking, smokers who may benefit from switching to e-cigarettes are not getting the message," said Dr Grant O'Connell, Corporate Affairs Manager at Fontem Ventures, who led the analysis.

In the wider adult population (including non-smokers) the perception was even more skewed with the analysis showing the proportion of the adult population believing that e-cigarettes were as harmful, or more harmful, than smoking increasing from 54% in 2013 to 65% in 2015.

A recent global survey from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World¹, found that among U.S. adult smokers in 2017, 45% believed e-cigarettes were as harmful as or more harmful than conventional cigarettes. Moreover, U.S. consumers believed that using nicotine every day was more dangerous than drinking every day, and that nicotine itself, rather than smoking, was a cause of lung cancer, throat cancer, and heart disease.

"These misperceptions need to be urgently addressed and policy makers should aim to assess why the relative harm of e-cigarettes compared with smoking is misunderstood. In particular, they should focus on how scientific studies are reported to the public," said Dr O'Connell.
Find the results of our analysis of the PATH data

*Findings from several recent clinical studies have shown that smokers who have made the switch to e-cigarettes have significantly lower exposure to carcinogens and toxicants found in cigarette smoke, with reductions largely indistinguishable from complete smoking cessation or use of licensed nicotine replacement products. These include:

O'Connell, G., D. W. Graff and C. D. D'Ruiz (2016). "Reductions in biomarkers of exposure (BoE) to harmful or potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) following partial or complete substitution of cigarettes with electronic cigarettes in adult smokers." Toxicol Mech Methods: 1-12.

Goniewicz, M. L., M. Gawron, D. M. Smith, M. Peng, P. Jacob and N. L. Benowitz (2016). "Exposure to Nicotine and Selected Toxicants in Cigarette Smokers Who Switched to Electronic Cigarettes: A Longitudinal Within-Subjects Observational Study." Nicotine & Tobacco Research. 19(2): 160-167.

Shahab, L., M. L. Goniewicz, B. C. Blount and et al. (2017). "Nicotine, carcinogen, and toxin exposure in long-term e-cigarette and nicotine replacement therapy users: A cross-sectional study." Annals of Internal Medicine. 166(6):390-400.

¹The State of Smoking 2018: Global Survey Findings and Insights. Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. Available online:

Fontem Ventures

Related Smoking Articles:

Telomere length unaffected by smoking
A new study has surprised the medical world, finding that smoking does not shorten the length of telomeres -- a marker at the end of our chromosomes that is widely accepted as an indicator of aging.
Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.
Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.
Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
More Smoking News and Smoking Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...