A press release from the British Medical Journal (BMJ) states that the proportion of European Union citizens who now believe that electronic cigarettes are harmful has nearly doubled in the last two years: “Yet use of these devices across member states has continued to surge within the same timeframe, the findings show.”
The survey compiled the results of two sets of responses from 2012 and 2014, covering 27 EU member states and including the opinions of 27,000 individuals. They “answered questions on frequency of use; reasons for use; perception of harms; current tobacco use; and provided information on age, sex, educational attainment, and household financial security.”
“The proportion of people who said they had ever tried an e-cigarette rose from 7.2% in 2012 to 11.6% in 2014 across member states, although this figure varied widely by country, ranging from 5.7% of respondents in Portugal to 21.3% in France. In Malta, survey respondents were more than five times as likely to say they had tried an e-cigarette in 2014 as they were in 2012.”
“Current smokers were 23 times more likely to say that they had ever tried an e-cigarette while ex-smokers were more than 6.5 times as likely to have done so. Being in the age range 18-24, living in a town/city, and being more highly educated were also linked to increased odds of ever having tried an e-cigarette.”
What gives cause for concern is that in 2012 27% of people believed that vaping posed a significant health risk. By 2014, the figure has now risen to an average of 51.5%, but this differs across the European Union. In Hungary, 31% bought into the fear agenda while an amazing 78% of Dutch respondents felt the same way. It is in the UK where lowest proportion of people believed the danger message.
“Variations in responses may be partly explained by the differing rates of smoking across EU member states as current and former smokers were much more likely to have tried e-cigarettes. Other factors, such as the way in which e-cigarettes are advertised and/or promoted as a smoking cessation aid, and their affordability, are also likely to have a role.”
“A better understanding of the population-level use and impact of e-cigarettes within the EU is needed, especially of the potential impact on smoke-free laws, smoking initiation and cessation.”