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Smoking versus vaping



Students, Academics

Smoking versus vaping: How (not) to communicate their relative harms.

Speaker: Peter Ayton (City, University of London)


Here we consider how the relative harms of two nicotine products were communicated in a public health campaign. Following a peer-reviewed evaluation that rated the relative harm of a range of nicotine products relative to the harm of smoking, and which rated the relative harm of vaping as about 5% that of smoking (D. J. Nutt et al., 2014), the UK government launched a campaign which transposed these relative harms into relative safety, promoting the message that “vaping is 95% safer than smoking”.

We discuss the communication issues arising from transposing a measure of relative harms into relative safety and report the results of an experiment which shows that significantly more people correctly appreciated the ratio of the relative harms from smoking and vaping after reading the statement “vaping is 5% as harmful as smoking” than after reading the statement “vaping is 95% safer than smoking”. We discuss the policy implications of our findings.

Sandwich lunch available from 12.30pm, seminar starts at 1.00pm.

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When and where

1.00pm - 2.00pmWednesday 9th October 2019

D427 City, University of London Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB United Kingdom