The study reveals 62% of smokers in France and 53% in Germany believe anti-smoking policies ignore how difficult it is to stop smoking
Brussels, Belgium, October 14 — The study commissioned by Consumer Choice Center and written in cooperation with the World Vapers’ Alliance reveals several misconceptions about nicotine and harm reduction among healthcare practitioners and consumers.
The survey was conducted to gain a greater insight into the impact of misperceptions about vaping among general practitioners, smokers, and policymakers, on the future harm reduction policy in Europe. The survey features 30 interviews with general practitioners and a quantitative survey of 862 French and German smokers.
- Only three out of 15 doctors in Germany say they know the term harm reduction.
- 33% of smokers in France and 43% in Germany wrongly believe vaping is as harmful or more harmful than cigarettes.
- 69% of smokers in France and 74% of smokers in Germany wrongly believe nicotine causes cancer.
- 62% of smokers in France and 53% in Germany believe anti-smoking policies ignore how difficult it is to stop smoking.
“There are two major sources of information for current smokers who want to quit: the internet and their general practitioner. Unfortunately, the existing perceptions among doctors on vaping as a harm reduction tool prevent them from recommending it for smoking cessation. Large numbers of GPs also hold the erroneous belief that nicotine causes cancer. From a patient perspective, this reduces potential improvements in public health”, says Bill Wirtz, Senior Policy Analyst at the Consumer Choice Center.
“This survey reveals many misconceptions around harm reduction and vaping in countries that should be at the front line of the fight for harm reduction in Europe. Smokers are not satisfied with traditional methods to quit smoking, and they should be informed that vaping can help. More than 19 million people can potentially switch from smoking to vaping in the EU, and politicians should help them by encouraging vaping as the most successful smoking-cessation method so far,” said Michael Landl, director of World Vapers’ Alliance.
Konstantinos Farsalinos, a physician and public health expert with a lot of experience in tobacco harm reduction research, mentioned:
“Currently available scientific evidence is crystal clear: vaping is by far less harmful than smoking and should be part of every smoking cessation framework around the world. Those misconceptions about relative risk and harms show that public health must do a better job to encourage smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives.”
The study was conducted by the research company Info Sapiens and co-authored by Consumer Choice Center in partnership with the vaping advocacy group World Vapers’ Alliance.
An advanced copy of the survey summary is available here.