E-Cigarette Reviews and Rankings

Media Claims E-Cigs Don’t Help You Quit Because People Aren’t Googling the Right Terms

A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that although the number of Google searches for vaping related terms has grown dramatically in the last few years, they are focused more on shopping than health. This was apparently more than enough for the media to conclude that e-cigarettes don’t help smokers quit.

google-trendsIn order to better understand the patterns of e-cigarette use, researchers from the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and San Diego State University decided to analyze Google searches relating to electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), from 2009 to 2014. They broke the data down by search vocabulary used and geographic location. They also looked for strings of terms that would provide insights into the searcher’s intentions, like “buy e-cigs” might infer that the person planned on buying an e-cigarette, while “is vaping healthy” might indicate that they are looking to switch to vaping.

Their research revealed that ENDS-related searches are growing rapidly (from 1,545,000 in 2010 to 8,498,000 in 2014 alone), but also that they seem to focus on shopping rather than smoking cessation or health information.

“The e-cigarette industry, the media, and the vaping community have promoted the notion that e-cigarettes are an effective device for quitting smoking, yet what we’re seeing is that there are very few people searching for information about that,” said the study’s senior author Rebecca S. Williams, MHS, PhD, researcher at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. “They are more commonly searching for terms like ‘buy,’ shop,’ or ‘sale.'”

First of all, some e-cig companies,the vaping community and even a number of researchers may have indeed promoted the idea that vaping can help smokers quit, but the media? Really? The same media that has been heavily promoting the misinformation of e-cigarette opponents and twisting otherwise sensible research to suit their agenda, the same media that been saying that vaping is as bad if not worse than smoking tobacco, or the media that is using the findings of these very study to prove that e-cigarettes don’t help people give up smoking? I’m sorry, but if these respectable scientists would have actually followed the media’s attitude towards e-cigs and vaping in general, they would know they have no interest in promoting them as smoking cessation aids.

Apparently, less than one percent of searches in 2013 and 2014 related to quitting smoking and only three percent of all ENDS searches in 2013 and two percent in 2014 included search terms for health information like “e-cigarette risks” or “is vaping healthy”.

“Individuals in the US often endorse ENDS as smoking-cessation aids, and some surveys suggest that many believe using ENDS will help them quit combustible cigarettes. However, only a small and declining percentage of Google searchers for ENDS included terms indicative of cessation,” Ms Williams said. “The context of this discrepancy is critical. When primed by survey questions, individuals appear to link ENDS with cessation, but in the privacy of their own home (when no investigator is providing options), it appears that searches for ENDS and cessation are infrequent,”

For most media outlets, this discrepancy in search patterns has apparently been enough to suggest that e-cigarettes don’t help people quit smoking. That in turn suggests they will literally cling to every little thing to fuel their e-cig smearing campaign, even googling. They are basically saying that because people are not searching the right terms, vaping doesn’t work. That makes perfect sense!

Forget the plethora of scientific studies and surveys that show vaping does indeed help smokers quit, Google Trends data is clearly the most relevant evidence we need to uncover the truth.

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