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Is the press only interested in negative vaping industry news?
Supporters of the vaping industry have for some time suspected that the wider mass media would prefer to print controversial eye-catching headlines rather than positive run-of-the-mill electronic cigarette medical research. Even though the media has defended itself against such claims in the past, things have certainly taken a different turn with a suggestion from Prof Robert West, of University College London’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, that it is more difficult to publish positive research compared to negative conclusions.
While this is obviously only the opinion of one medical professor it is the first time that anybody from the medical profession has spoken out publicly on this issue.
Does good news sell?
If we take a step back from the vaping industry and look at the mass media as a whole, there is no doubt that the wider press coverage of any one particular subject tends to focus on controversial and hard-hitting headlines what many would call negative slants. Whether or not this is the truth, the fact that the medical profession is finding it more difficult to publish positive news on the vaping industry as opposed to headline grabbing negative comments certainly says a lot.
We can only hope that the industry receives a more balanced approach by the press in the medium to longer term because at this moment in time one negative, sometimes misleading, headline can do a lot of damage.
What can the vaping industry do to promote itself?
There are some within the vaping community who would prefer a more robust, more positive and more aggressive approach to promoting the industry. However, it does seem as though the softly softly approach is paying dividends with a growing trust factor between the industry and consumers starting to emerge.
It is also interesting to see that the sector has a much louder voice today than at any time in the past with the vaping industry’s influence being fed by the general public. This kind of public/consumer backing is the kind which money cannot buy and something which the tobacco industry itself has not experienced in years gone by. In many ways the more money you throw at a problem/debate the lower the trust factor and the more suspicion going forward.
Is the mass media influenced by any other bodies?
Press barons around the world are very influential in all areas of life including politics, new technology and in this case the tobacco industry. Even though there is an array of smoking bans around the world, this is an industry which is still turning over hundreds of billions of dollars much of which is ploughed back into the public sector via tobacco taxes. Whether or not the mass media is in some way influenced by the big spending powerful tobacco companies is a matter for debate. If there was no relationship and no influence whatsoever, why does there seem to be a concerted campaign to highlight negative vaping industry stories and seemingly “ignore” those with a more positive angle.
Since the year dot there is no doubt that press coverage has focused upon sensational, controversial and very often negative articles. The fact that a professor in the UK has publicly discussed the challenges faced by those looking to promote more positive research data, as opposed to negative and controversial conclusions, has certainly given supporters of the industry food for thought. Now that the issue is in the open will we see a more balanced approach to reporting medical trials in the future? Or will all parties involved maintain their own agenda?
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