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Is the Tide Turning? E-Cigs Getting Some Much Needed Fair Treatment from the Media

After years in which big media corporations have posted hundreds of articles containing unsubstantiated claims about the dangers of using electronic cigarettes, we’re seeing sites like the BBC or FOX News actually giving credit where credit is due and acknowledging the huge success and potential of these revolutionary devices.

According to Euromonitor International estimates, the e-cigarette industry is currently worth $2 billion (around as much as the whole small cigar market) and rising rapidly. The latest statistics show around 70% of the general population in countries like the US, UK or Canada have at least heard about e-cigs and the vast majority believes they are beneficial when compared to tobacco analogs. For the last few years, the fast-growing vaping community has been talking about the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes as alternative to traditional cigs, and hardly any serious side-effects associated with their use. Still, despite all this undeniable evidence of the e-cig’s merits, media corporations always seemed interested in supporting groups who would have e-cigarettes banned. Most articles expressed concerns about their long-term effects of vaping, cited studies claiming e-cigarettes weren’t as safe as everyone believed, reporting about exploding devices (which ultimately proved to be amateur mods) but never once mentioned the things that make e-cigarettes so popular.

But it seems all that is beginning to change. It may be just a temporary change, but it’s definitely worth talking about. Just last week, FOX News posted an article by a renowned doctor recommending electronic cigarettes as a quit smoking aid for patients who couldn’t quit by other means. Dr. Keith Ablow, a member of FOX’s Health News team went on to suggest large scale clinical trials be finally undertaken, to cast aside any doubts about the potential long-term vaping effects, that anti-smoking groups keep referring to whenever they try to justify their aggressive attitude toward electronic cigarettes. It was definitely a pleasant surprise seeing such a positive outlook on e-cigs from such a reputable source.

A few days ago, the BBC posted an article on e-cigarettes. It cited some safety concerns, but unlike similar stories from the past, this one actually mentioned the potential of vaping as an alternative to smoking and the very important facts, including that the battery-operated devices produce no tar, or that nicotine by itself is not a particularly hazardous drug. It could have delved much deeper into the subject, but considering the kind of reports we’ve had on electronic cigarettes so far, this was definitely a step in the right direction from another media giant.

Finally, yesterday, I was delighted to read an excellent piece on electronic cigarettes, in the International Business Times. Written by Dick Puddlecote, it aimed to cover all the points that the BBC article left untouched, while acknowledging the surprisingly positive tone of the British Broadcast Channel’s report. Dick wrote about the exponential growth of e-cigarette users in the UK, which is estimated to top 1 million in 2013, and their incredible commercial success all over the western world. He also mentioned research that shows reduction in cigarette consumption is double among those who use electronic cigarettes than in those who don’t.

The IB Times article also touched the delicate subject of resistance from anti-smoking associations who seem to only accept cold-turkey smoking cessation or with the help of pharma products, which several studies have shown are largely ineffective. Their stubbornness to accept electronic cigarettes as a tobacco harm reduction aid could have serious consequences, like pushing vapers back to smoking analogs. Puddlecore also talks about the EU’s updated Tobacco Products Directive, which would turn electronic cigarettes into accessories too weak to actually help anyone, while making sure to remind everyone it was authored by Maltese Health Commissioner John Dalli, who is currently under investigation for soliciting bribes.

It’s refreshing to see some objective pieces of journalism on e-cigarettes, especially from media corporations, but it’s still early to tell if the articles mentioned above are just drops in an ocean of negative propaganda.

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