May 24, 2015 04:51 PM EDT
Ironically, despite having the healthier e-cigarette alternative at hand, many are choosing to continue smoking conventional cigarettes. Authorities think this may be because they mistakenly believe that e-cigarettes are as dangerous as their traditional counterparts.
According to a recent report from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), researchers have indicated that two parallel trends have been found. First, the numbers of e-cigarette smokers has risen to 2.6 million in the UK alone, up from 2.1 million last year. Most new vapers are former smokers. At the same time, more people have come to believe that e-cigarettes are as harmful as ordinary cigarettes. In 2014 only about 15 percent of people in the UK thought that e-cigarettes were equally deadly, but now about 22 percent think so.
"The number of ex-smokers who are staying off tobacco by using electronic cigarettes is growing, showing just what value they can have," says Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH. "But the number of people who wrongly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking is worrying. The growth of this false perception risks discouraging many smokers from using electronic cigarettes to quit and keep them smoking instead which would be bad for their health and the health of those around them."
"We must clearly communicate the relative safety of electronic cigarettes to smokers" says Dr. Leonie Brose of the King's College London. "The proven harm of tobacco is currently getting less coverage than the much smaller and far less certain harm from electronic cigarettes. We owe it to smokers to provide them with accurate information."
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