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Public perception about e-cigarettes has changed drastically in recent years, with a growing number of Americans now recognizing that side effects of vaping may be harmful to the health, according to the findings of a new study.
Overall, the proportion of adults who perceived e-cigarettes to be as harmful as regular tobacco cigarettes or more harmful than cigarettes increased from 2012 to 2017, according to the findings of a study recently published in the journal JAMA Network Open. The results indicate more people are aware of research pointing to potential health risks e-cigarettes pose.
Researchers from Georgia State University conducted two national surveys of U.S. adults from 2012 to 2017. Data from the Tobacco Products and Risk Perceptions Surveys (TPRPS) and the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) was used to determine public perception about vaping.
The study compiled the findings of the TPRPS survey which included 24,000 adults, and the HINTS survey which included more than 11,000.
The TPRPS survey indicated adults who believed e-cigarettes were less harmful than regular cigarettes decreased from nearly 40% in 2012 to 34% in 2017. Among adults in the HINTS survey, 51% believed they were less harmful than regular cigarettes in 2012 compared to 34% in 2017.
Those who believed e-cigarettes were just as harmful as regular cigarettes increased from 12% in 2012 to 36% in 2017 in the TPRPS. That number also increased in the HINTS survey from 46% in 2012 to 56% in 2017.
Adults who believed e-cigarettes were more harmful increased from 1% in 2012 to 4% in 2017 among those surveyed in the TPRPS survey. That also changed among those surveyed in the HINTS program, increasing from 3% in 2012 to 10% in 2017.
Public perception of vaping has changed in the past decade, with more people thinking e-cigarettes may pose a similar risk to human health as regular cigarettes do.
Recent research has indicate vaping also carries many risks, including increased risk of heart problems and heart attack risk, coronary artery disease and depression, respiratory problems, and can cause damage to a person’s DNA. Studies also indicate vaping also exposes users to toxic chemicals and harmful carcinogens.
Researchers say the findings underscore the need for accurate information regarding vaping to be conveyed to the public.
Nearly two-thirds of adults use both e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes, meaning their health risks for heart disease and lung disease are higher than those who smoke just regular cigarettes.
However, the research may lead fewer adults to switch from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes if they believe vaping can be just as harmful. Most people still believe tobacco cigarettes are more harmful to humans than vaping and are the most dangerous tobacco product.