Ever since electronic cigarettes went on sale in the UK, a debate has raged around their perceived threat to public health. Within one month, you can read completely conflicting views; e-cigarettes can be “as bad for your heart as smoking”, or that they are as much as “95% less harmful than tobacco”.
Fortunately, the argument that e-cigarettes pose considerably fewer health risks than traditional cigarettes is seeing more and more support. Not only are more people using electronic cigarettes now, but scientific research is making it quite clear where our opinions should lay. With over half of the vapers in the UK having completely quit using tobacco because of their e-cigarette, it’s about time we saw an end to media smear tactics.
One of the most recent concerns raised against e-cigarettes is that they pose a threat to the UK’s youth. This is based on the fear that sweetly flavoured e-liquids are designed for “recruiting children” and those who experiment with e-cigarettes are “more likely to start smoking”. But are these claims also unfounded? Or do e-cigarettes really pose a threat?
An Incorrect Perception of Electronic Cigarettes
If our aim is making the UK smoke-free, then it is important to remain considerate of anyone that might begin smoking tobacco. After all, it’s one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the UK and the younger you start smoking, the worse the effects will be later in life.
When it comes to electronic cigarettes, though, there have been some simple misunderstandings. Because of the fact that e-liquid contains nicotine, too many similarities have been drawn with tobacco cigarettes. If someone wanted to try a sweetly flavoured e-liquid, it is a vast contrast from what a cigarette tastes like. We’re not suggesting that it’s fine for minors to be experimenting with e-cigarettes; more that we want to see less misinformation and fake news regarding the UK’s vaping industry.
E-Cigarette Use in the UK
In fact, recent research has conclusively shown that “e-cigarette usage in teenagers doesn’t lead to smoking” and that people’s fear is unnecessary and unfounded. We understand that an e-cigarette like the SMOK Procolor might attract interest in the same way a new mobile phone might, but technological jargon and strangely flavoured vape clouds are a world away from a pack of cigarettes.
Cigarette use between the ages of 18 to 24 has seen a sharper decline since 2010 than all other age groups. While e-cigarettes are mostly sold as tobacco cessation devices, there is some uptake of non-smokers who are actually investing in the culture of vaping. Like any ‘sub-culture’, members often define themselves against the mainstream. Vaping allows people to enjoy sharing a common interest. The similarities they have enable them to enjoy meaningful interactions which promote a sense of belonging (something which is closely linked to positive feelings of well-being).
The Future of Vaping…
If e-cigarettes are the key to helping Britain become smoke-free, then surely they need to be promoted and supported. All this scaremongering could easily have a negative effect on the future of electronic cigarettes as a tobacco cessation solution. For example, in New Zealand, the government is actively promoting the use of e-cigarettes. The country has an ambitious target of becoming a smoke-free country by 2025. Achieving this would be an amazing feat, but even as it is, New Zealand is setting a great example to the world.
If you want people to stop smoking tobacco, then offering them a healthier, cheaper and more enjoyable alternative is surely the right way to go about it.