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Mark Benson asks the question of the day;
Is media support for electronic cigarettes turning positive?
Over the last few years there has been a concerted effort to dumb down the electronic cigarette/vaping industry, spreading rumours, speculation and questioning the long-term health implications of these devices. In many ways the public have been led into a state of panic about electronic cigarettes although recently there have been signs that the media onslaught is now beginning to turn more positive.
There are many reasons why the media seems to be turning more positive towards cigarettes, although there are still an array of negative stories and speculation portrayed as “facts” when the details often suggest otherwise. So why is media support beginning to turn? Is media support now reflecting a growing confidence from the general public?
The industry is here to stay
Time and time again we have heard rumours about third parties, often with a vested interest, funding critical attacks on the sector. We have even seen the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) attempting to ban electronic cigarettes just a few years ago and then having to announce an embarrassing U-turn after losing a courtroom battle. Slowly but surely all parties are coming to the sensible conclusion that electronic cigarettes are here to stay, they have a role to play in the future and the general public are now more supportive than ever.
This is a multibillion-dollar industry which has the potential, albeit after a battle royal, to actually overtake the tobacco cigarette industry over the next 20 years or so.
Scare stories having less of an impact?
The worldwide media feeds on scare stories, concerns and speculation which lead to controversy and can often cloud the thinking of the general public. For many years the news on electronic cigarettes was very negative, very misleading in some cases and many people are actually surprised the industry is still here to fight another day. Over last 12 months or so more and more people have tried electronic cigarettes with many reporting welcome health improvements. While there is still a need for long-term medical trials, the general consensus now seems to be that electronic cigarettes are at worst “less harmful” than their tobacco cigarette counterparts.
In order to reflect the mood of the general public many media outlets are now turning more positive on electronic cigarettes perhaps intrigued and attracted by the advertising dollars which will surely flow? The FDA announced relatively few advertising restrictions and indeed the recent announcement led to a quiet confidence in the short-term. The medium to long-term situation is a little trickier to unravel because of a number of caveats and control guidelines set to come into play.
Have negative comments by politicians turned the tide?
It is difficult to put a finger on exactly what happened to turn the tide regarding media coverage of electronic cigarettes but perhaps politicians have played their part? Time and time again we have seen negative comments attributed to an array of leading politicians with a growing number of the general public growing ever more suspicious. There seems to be a reluctant acceptance that electronic cigarettes will at some stage in the not too distant future attract new taxes although many people still have difficulty understanding how politicians can justify this?
There is still an ongoing onslaught from the political arena, the regulatory framework is not fully in place and every now and again we see a new strand of negative press coverage. Over the last few days we have seen stories regarding potential carcinogenic substances being created at relatively high vaping temperatures although the reality is that none of these claims have been proved beyond all reasonable doubt.
When the general public were more fearful of electronic cigarettes, when negative comments were grabbing headlines it seemed that the whole media industry was against this new business arena. Slowly but surely the industry is fighting back, rising like a Phoenix from the ashes, and a more accepting general public now seem to be forcing the hand of the mass media companies. There are still a number of negative stories appearing, perhaps not as frequent as they have done, but more often than not these are being discounted unless they can be proven beyond all reasonable doubt.
The public seem to be waking up to the potential of electronic cigarettes and the balance of power is certainly shifting.
Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a levelheaded approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on electronic cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website