The message “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. It is not recommended for non-smokers”, led to the participants perceiving e-cigs as more harmful and addictive, than they actually are.
Research undertaken by the Centre for Addictive Behaviours at London South Bank University (LSBU), has shown that using “reduced risk” messaging was effective in encouraging tobacco smokers to switch to e-cigarettes, without enticing non-smokers to start. To this effect, the study authors are urging the government to reconsider the wording on such products.
A total of 2,495 participants form the UK, were asked how harmful, addictive and effective they thought e-cigarettes were and if they intended to use them. They were asked to rate the safety of the products before and after viewing different health warnings online, between December 2018 and January 2019.
Reduced-risk messages are more effective
The data compiled by the researchers indicated that EU messaging stating, “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. It is not recommended for non-smokers”, led the participants perceiving e-cigarettes as more harmful and addictive, than an alternative reduced risk message stating, “use of this product is much less harmful than smoking.”
“Because current (EU) messages focus on the absolute risks of nicotine use, they may actually deter use in smokers and undermine the potential of e-cigarettes to assist a change in smoking behaviour,” reported the study authors. “Whilst reducing appeal amongst non-smokers is clearly desirable, effective health messaging should communicate risks without discouraging smokers.“
Read Further: Independant
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