• April 9, 2020

Getting the message across

John Dunne

Smokers believe that advertising that included messages about the positive public-health and financial potential of vaping would be key to them making the switch from smoking, according to a press note from the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) citing new research.

The study, which was conducted by Consumer Intelligence on behalf of the UKVIA is said to have shown that:

  • 68 percent of respondents felt that changing current advertising restrictions imposed by the Advertising Standards Agency to allow public health messages to be promoted by the vaping industry would help more smokers make the switch.
  • 63 percent of those interviewed felt that information from their GP, pharmacist or a healthcare professional would influence their decision to make the change;
  • 61 percent said that information in a healthcare environment would be beneficial;
  • 48 percent called for more ‘educational advertising’ by public health organizations or the government in the media;
  • 61 percent agreed with the idea that Public Health England’s recent recommendation for hospitals to allow vaping on their premises and to sell e-cigarettes and e-liquids on site would convince more of them to take up vaping.

“This highlights the critical role that accurate advertising has to play in realizing the public health prize that vaping represents,” said John Dunne (pictured), a director at UKVIA, in commenting on the findings. “This isn’t coming from the industry but from smokers who could be convinced to break their habits.

“More education all round is needed to get smokers to make the switch and to realise the full public health potential of vaping. There needs to be a strong and cohesive message from government, public health and the vaping industry to make switching from smoking to vaping an obvious choice.”

The research, which surveyed more than 1,000 smokers, revealed also that the vaping industry, despite its fast rate of growth, was in danger of not fulfilling its potential. It showed that many people considered vaping to be as harmful or more so than smoking. A significant number of people wrongly believed that vaping was more expensive than smoking and were confused by the array of vaping devices on the market.

The Consumer Intelligence study looked also at smokers’ experiences of and attitudes to using e-cigarettes to identify what was most likely to help them make the switch to vaping. It showed that:

  • The odor of conventional cigarettes (62 percent of respondents), vaping being cheaper (60 percent) and favourable insurance premiums for vapers (50 percent) were viewed by smokers as being key influences in making the switch from smoking to vaping;
  • 46 percent of smokers said media coverage of vaping hadn’t encouraged them to consider a switch to vaping;
  • Over-55s are the least likely group to have tried vaping and are proving to be the hardest group to reach with vaping communications, with 73 percent claiming not to have seen any form of information from the media and health bodies.

“The research reveals that there is an appetite for better information, including clear benefits in terms of assured health implications and the cost savings that can be made by consumers,” said Dunne. “Current advertising restrictions inevitably make it very difficult to reach smokers on the potential health benefits. This is particularly concerning when considering smokers over 55, who are most likely to suffer the ill effects of smoking. We currently have few ways to let them know that a switch to vaping could dramatically improve their health.”