The Grapevine

More People In US Now See E-cigarettes More Harmful Than Tobacco

It has long been known that smoking tobacco can be harmful and lead to serious health problems. But the rise of lung problems linked to e-cigarettes have sparked more concerns across the U.S.

A new study, published in JAMA Network Open, shows that many American adults now consider vape as harmful as or more harmful than traditional cigarettes. Researchers said the numbers may have been increasing due to rising cases of vape-related injuries. 

Tobacco researchers from Georgia State University's School of Public Health analyzed data from The Tobacco Products and Risk Perceptions Survey. It involved nearly 6,000 adult respondents who answered questions about smoking every year from 2014 through 2018.

Results showed that the number of adults who perceived e-cigarettes to be less harmful than tobacco declined from 29 percent in 2017 to 26 percent in 2018. In the same period, there was an increase in people who looked at e-cigarettes as equally harmful, more harmful or much more harmful than cigarettes.

In 2018, 43 percent of adults across the U.S. believed the effects of vaping to be as harmful as cigarettes. The concern was also raised by tobacco users. 

Researchers said the findings suggest that people are picking traditional cigarettes over its electronic alternative because of the potential risks. This comes surprising since e-cigarettes have been endorsed as safe alternative to harmful cigarettes. 

"Smokers who perceive too much risk from e-cigarettes may decide against using them to quit smoking and may instead continue with their combustible smoking habit," Amy Nyman, lead study author and a research associate in the School of Public Health, said in a statement

She added media coverage of the teen vaping epidemic potentially sparked more concerns in the U.S., leading to the increase in perceived harm of the device. The findings support previous research that found a growing number of Americans considering vaping has similar bad effects with cigarettes between 2012 and 2017.

The researchers expect the number of people finding e-cigarettes are harmful to continue to increase in the coming years because of the recent outbreak of vaping-related illnesses in the U.S. 

Vaping Federal health officials have been recording a growing number of hospitalizations linked to long-term use of e-cigarettes in the U.S.