The perception of electronic cigarettes as being more harmful has increased from 2019 to 2020

THURSDAY, June 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Between 2019 and 2020, there was an increase in the perception of e-cigarettes as more harmful than cigarettes, according to research published online June 8 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Priti Bandi, Ph.D., of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and her colleagues used data from a cross-sectional survey of national health information trends collected in 2018, 2019, and 2020 to estimate the changes in relative perceptions of the harms of e-cigarettes versus cigarettes. For each relative level of perceived harm, changes in exclusive smoking, exclusive e-cigarette use, and dual use were estimated.

Researchers found that year-over-year perceptions of e-cigarettes as “more harmful” than cigarettes doubled, increasing the most between 2019 and 2020 (6.8, 12.8 and 28.3% in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively); there was a decrease in relative harm uncertainty (38.2, 34.2, and 24.7%, respectively). Relative perceptions of “less harmful” decreased (17.6, 15.3 and 11.4%, respectively), while perceptions of “equally harmful” remained stable (37.4, 37.7 and 35, 6%). Between 2019 and 2020, exclusive smoking increased among those who perceived e-cigarettes as relatively “more harmful” (18.5, 8.4, and 16.3%, respectively); exclusive e-cigarette use increased among those who perceived them as relatively “less harmful” (7.9, 15.3, and 26.7%, respectively), while among those who perceived them relatively “as harmful” , dual use increased (0.1, 1.4, and 2.9 percent, respectively).

“The increase in smoking prevalence and e-cigarette use occurred primarily among people who perceived their preferred product to be relatively less harmful,” Bandi said in a statement.

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