E-Cigarettes vs Fake News: A Battle of Fact vs Fiction
In recent years, we’ve seen the strange and alarming rise of fake news. If you weren’t sure what it is already, fake news is content which has been “written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain”. It often uses exaggerated, sensationalist or even false headlines to lure potential readers in and pays no regard to the negative consequences of this. If fake news is designed to misinform, then it must be placed in direct opposition to factual or scientific news, which seeks to help the reader to understand.
This leads us to our current debate about fake news and how it is in direct competition with the e-cigarette industry. Has negative propaganda really had an effect on e-cigarette usage? Has it influenced consumers or regulatory officials? Might the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) have treated e-cigarettes differently?
While the e-cigarette market is predicted to continue its global growth, could fake news hold it back? Or will fact rule over fiction and allow a proven tobacco cessation technique to continue to thrive?
Fake News in the 21st Century
Considered by some to be what is most defining the Information Era, fake news reached giddying new heights in 2016. The phrase was popularised by the political campaigns of Donald Trump and the EU Referendum’s Vote Leave Party, which both utilised “post-truth politics” to achieve their goals. Exacerbated by social media and the internet, fake news can be powerful enough to affect the way people think or act.
The Negative Impact on the E-Cigarette Industry
Our research suggests that fake news definitely impacts on the e-cigarette industry in a negative way. By simply searching for “e-cigarette” into online content analytics engine BuzzSumo, we found that the most popular articles which included this search term were about the so-called ‘popcorn lung’ issue and exploding e-cigarettes. Take, for example, the latest SMOK ProColor — without a doubt one of the most technologically advanced e-cigarettes on the market. Yet, useful reviews of this kit get lost amongst attention grabbing-headlines about the latest ‘research’ into how e-cigarettes are reportedly dangerous.
E-Cigarettes, Facts and the Future of Vaping
The fight against misinformation is a difficult one. Every vape shop should be able to produce numerous scientific publications which can show the value of e-cigarettes as a tobacco cessation device. The evidence is easy to find for anyone who wants to and should be distributed far and wide. Unfortunately, a vape shop is much more likely to be visited by people who already vape — not the people who need persuading.
So how do we promote the great qualities of the e-cigarette industry? While some may want to keep vaping to themselves, through my experience at Electric Tobacconist, I believe e-cigarettes are here to stay. Part of the reason for this is the continued publication of fact-based research. These studies, taking place all over the world, clearly show that much of the most viral information around e-cigarettes is unfounded. As science continues to prove that e-cigarettes are not a threat to society, it will become increasingly difficult for any naysayers to be able to substantiate their arguments.
Of course, fake news doesn’t necessarily need to have a substantial argument to be able to spread misinformation. However, fake news also works on the premise that its content is believable. Currently, the volume of fact vs fiction isn’t high enough, but if we continue to spread the truth about vaping, we can break the myths that surround the industry and help everyone to experience the benefits of e-cigarettes for themselves.
Author Bio: Pascal Culverhouse is the founder and CEO of Electric Tobacconist, supplying the very best e-cigarette products to the UK and US. As part of the vaping community, he wants to promote the value of e-cigarettes and their proven record of empowering people to live healthier lives.