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​Fake News and Vaping

19th Sep 2017

The term fake news has been bandied around quite a bit in recent years, made popular by the Trump administration and even used by the Vote Leave Party during the Brexit campaign. What is fake news though, and how may it affect the vaping industry?

What is Fake News?

Fake news isn’t something Donald Trump made up in order to avoid answering difficult questions or to stop himself being incriminated in something (although…..). Fake news, bizarrely, is real and as such is something that may have a significant knock-on effect. In basic terms, fake news is where something is written and publicly released with the specific intention of misleading people in order to receive some form of gain. So basically, people printing “truth” that has been very stretched in order to get more readers or even to fulfil an agenda, such as affecting a vote, to “back-up” someone’s beliefs, i.e. being anti-vaping for example, or similar.

The maddening thing overall is that fake news is often quite blatant. It feeds into people’s personal concerns or suspicions and lures them away from scientific fact. Fake news is basically a tool used by media outlets and more to fib (or lie) in order to change perception or cause a change in someone else’s favour.

How Does Fake News Affect Vaping?

If you read it in the paper, it must be true. Right? Some would say no; however others still cling to the hope and belief that when reports are released, alongside articles, blogs and even tweets, out into the public domain, that they will have been fact checked and be free from bias. This isn’t always true.

If you take vaping for example. Vaping has risen in popularity in recent years and thanks to advances in scientific testing many of the common vaping myths around vaping have been debunked. Vaping is not worse than smoking (far from it and quite the opposite) and vaping does not encourage teenagers to smoke tobacco cigarettes. We know this to be true as there have been independent and verified studies from respected sources which prove this.

The introduction of fake news may however cause people to overlook the truth in favour for something more sensational. Fake news may directly influence consumers. It could even influence those who have the power to affect change within the vaping community, especially with new or altered legislation that wouldn’t necessarily be good for vapers.

If there hadn’t been fake news stories about e cigarettes and e liquids we have to wonder if by now, given the wealth of data supporting vaping as both a healthier alternative to tobacco smoking and as a useful and effective cessation device, whether we would see vaping more widely accepted (officially) by the NHS and other health groups.

The vaping industry expanded faster than could ever have been anticipated however there are many who believe that fake news stories about the safety and benefits of vaping could slow potential progress from a development point of view. Could restrictive additional rules and regulations, that might have otherwise not existed, be put into place based on the perception of vaping that has come as a direct result of fake news?

Moving Forward

Fake news is hard to fight which is why it may be so effective. The answer, certainly as far as vaping is concerned is to continue sharing true information that is backed up by proof, effectively showing fake news stories up for what they are, mistruths designed to mislead.

There is a lot to shout about when it comes to the positives of vaping and this has to be the focus moving forward.

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