New Gallop poll: 76% of Americans still view vaping as ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ harmful

New Gallop polls released this month are showing that Americans are still somewhat confused about the documented health benefits and perceived dangers of vaping and electronic cigarettes. Even though scientists from both the United States and abroad overwhelming agree that vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking by as much as 95 percent, poll results indicate that the prevailing public opinion is more negative than positive.  One recent Gallop poll compares public perception rates of six different products.

  • Combustible cigarettes
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Cigars
  • Pipe tobacco
  • Marijuana
  • Electronic cigarettes “also known as ‘vaping’”

This first Gallop poll conducted between July 1 -11 of this year indicates that 82 percent of Americans rate combustible cigarettes as” very harmful” while only 27 percent place marijuana in the same category.  Of the six different products, vaping ranks fifth at 38 percent. 

The 5th place finish may seem like positive news for the vaping community at first glance.  However, when the “very harmful” and “somewhat harmful” categories are combined, the Gallop results further indicate that approximately 72 percent of Americans still view vaping in a negative light.  On the other hand, only 56 percent of those surveyed view marijuana unfavorably.

To put this more succinctly, millions more Americans are of the opinion that smoking marijuana is healthier than vaping tobacco-free e-liquids.  Clearly, the vaping industry is falling short in its attempts to convince Joe Public of the many health benefits of vaping.

Gallop poll shows younger people more likely to vape

The results of a second Gallop poll focusing on e-cig and tobacco use among adults ages 18-29 years shows that vaping is more prevalent among the younger generation.  Only 22 percent of under-30’s say vaping is “very harmful” compared to the 38 percent of the first poll.  Other interesting statistics include the following.

  • 9 percent of all Americans regardless of age either regularly or occasionally vape.
  • Meanwhile, about 20% of 18-29 year-olds make the same claims.
  • Breaking the data down further, only about 8 percent of adults ages 30-64 claim to either regularly or occasionally vape compared to a mere 0.5 percent of senior citizens over 65.
  • Furthermore, 39 percent of young adults claiming to have smoked a tobacco cigarette within the past 7-days also report having vaped at least once during the same time frame.

“These current data show a significant overlap in the two smoking behaviors -- people who smoke conventional cigarettes are by far the most likely to be vaping. And vaping has become particularly prevalent among young people, even as their rate of smoking cigarettes has plummeted. Thus, it seems possible that the advent of electronic cigarettes could, on balance, be having an overall positive effect on the health of the American population.”

While the combined data from both Gallop polls suggests that that the majority of Americans regardless of age still seem to be under the mistaken impression that vaping is very or somewhat hazardous to one’s health – almost as harmful as smoking, in fact - the good news is that the younger generation seems to be getting the pro-vaping message, albeit at a much slower rate than the vaping industry might expect.

Related Article: ‘Vaping is just as bad as smoking’ and other Big Little Lies about e-cigs

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