Nicotine - Misperceptions, Misinformation, or Disinformation

From Safer nicotine wiki
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Multi-National

Consumers

2022: Do smokers' perceptions of the harmfulness of nicotine replacement therapy and nicotine vaping products as compared to cigarettes influence their use as an aid for smoking cessation? Findings from the ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys

  • We analyzed data from 1,315 current daily smokers (10+ cigarettes per day) who were recruited at Wave 1 (2016), and who reported making a quit attempt by Wave 2 (2018) of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys in Australia, Canada, England, and the United States.
  • Consistent with past studies,our findings confirm that harm perceptions influence nicotine product use, with accurate perceptions associated with greater likelihood of use as a smoking cessation aid, whereas inaccurate perceptions appear to deter their use for this purpose.


2022: Exposure to Negative News Stories About Vaping, and Harm Perceptions of Vaping, Among Youth in England, Canada, and the United States Before and After the Outbreak of E-cigarette or Vaping-Associated Lung Injury (‘EVALI’)

  • Between 2017 and February–March 2020, youth exposure to negative news stories, and perceptions of vaping harms, increased, and increases were exacerbated during and immediately after ‘EVALI’. By August 2020, exposure to negative news stories returned to 2019 levels, while perceptions of harm were sustained.


2021: Video: Depression causes vaping!

  • In this talk Professor Notley will discuss the latest evidence exploring associations between nicotine use and common mental health conditions, including depression.
  • Interpretive assumptions will be drawn out, including inappropriate claims of causal relationships between vaping and depression.


2021: Effects of brief exposure to misinformation about e-cigarette harms on twitter: a randomised controlled experiment

  • This is the first study to explore the effect of exposure to misinformation about e-cigarette harms on Twitter, showing that after brief exposure to tweets that e-cigarettes are as or more harmful than smoking, current smokers may be deterred from using e-cigarettes (measured with intention to purchase e-cigarettes) as a harm reduction strategy. They are also more likely to wrongly believe that e-cigarettes are more harmful than regular cigarettes.
  • The increasing trends of misperceptions about the relative harms of e-cigarettes compared with regular cigarettes are important for public health because perceived harms of e-cigarettes are associated with smokers' willingness to use e-cigarettes6 as a harm reduction strategy.


2020: Tobacco harm reduction in the 21st century

  • These products have been subjected to regulatory bans and heavy taxation and are rejected by smokers and society based on misperceptions about nicotine, sensational media headlines
  • These barriers will need to be addressed if tobacco harm reduction is to make the maximum impact on the tobacco endemic.


2020: Inequalities, harm reduction and non-combustible nicotine products: a meta-ethnography of qualitative evidence

  • The review only identified studies exploring the attitudes of socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers towards NCNP (non-combustible nicotine products) for harm reduction or cessation purposes (i.e. we did not identify any relevant studies of more advantaged socioeconomic groups).
  • Using a lines-of-argument meta-ethnographic approach, we identified a predominantly pessimistic attitude to NCNP for harm reduction or cessation of smoking due to:
    • wider circumstances of socioeconomic disadvantage;
    • lack of a perceived advantage of alternative products over smoking;
    • and a perceived lack of information about relative harms of NCNP compared to smoking.


Australia

Consumers

2022: Do smokers' perceptions of the harmfulness of nicotine replacement therapy and nicotine vaping products as compared to cigarettes influence their use as an aid for smoking cessation? Findings from the ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys

  • We analyzed data from 1,315 current daily smokers (10+ cigarettes per day) who were recruited at Wave 1 (2016), and who reported making a quit attempt by Wave 2 (2018) of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys in Australia, Canada, England, and the United States.
  • Consistent with past studies,our findings confirm that harm perceptions influence nicotine product use, with accurate perceptions associated with greater likelihood of use as a smoking cessation aid, whereas inaccurate perceptions appear to deter their use for this purpose.


Canada

Consumers

2022: Do smokers' perceptions of the harmfulness of nicotine replacement therapy and nicotine vaping products as compared to cigarettes influence their use as an aid for smoking cessation? Findings from the ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys

  • We analyzed data from 1,315 current daily smokers (10+ cigarettes per day) who were recruited at Wave 1 (2016), and who reported making a quit attempt by Wave 2 (2018) of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys in Australia, Canada, England, and the United States.
  • Consistent with past studies,our findings confirm that harm perceptions influence nicotine product use, with accurate perceptions associated with greater likelihood of use as a smoking cessation aid, whereas inaccurate perceptions appear to deter their use for this purpose.


2022: Exposure to Negative News Stories About Vaping, and Harm Perceptions of Vaping, Among Youth in England, Canada, and the United States Before and After the Outbreak of E-cigarette or Vaping-Associated Lung Injury (‘EVALI’)

  • Between 2017 and February–March 2020, youth exposure to negative news stories, and perceptions of vaping harms, increased, and increases were exacerbated during and immediately after ‘EVALI’. By August 2020, exposure to negative news stories returned to 2019 levels, while perceptions of harm were sustained.


Poland

Consumers

2021: The Frequency of Use and Harm Perception of Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs): The 2019 Cross-Sectional Survey among Medical Students from Poland

  • Approximately half of the respondents believed they [HTPs] are safer than traditional cigarettes and almost 1/4 believed they are safer than e-cigarettes.


2021: Perception of Harmfulness of Various Tobacco Products and E-Cigarettes in Poland: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Survey

  • Among the respondents, 57.9% declared, that e-cigarette use causes serious diseases, with significant differences between smokers and non-smokers (60.4% vs. 49.1%, p = 0.01). Over a quarter of respondents (27.9%) did not know whether e-cigarette use causes disease. Lung cancer was the most common (65.8%) health effect of e-cigarette use indicated by the respondents. More than half of respondents believed that e-cigarette use causes stroke (54.4%) or myocardial infarction (59.4%), wherein non-smokers compared to smokers (p < 0.001) more often declared that e-cigarette use causes cardiovascular diseases.
  • Among the respondents, 70% declared that e-cigarettes are as harmful as traditional cigarettes, wherein smokers compared to non-smokers more often declared that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes (28.6% vs. 19.5%; p = 0.01). There were no statistically significant differences (p > 0.05) between smokers and non-smokers in the perception of the harmfulness of heated tobacco products. One-fourth of the respondents declared that smokeless tobacco is less harmful than traditional cigarettes with significant differences between smokers (32.3%) and non-smokers (22.9%; p = 0.01).


2017: How Social Care Beneficiaries in Poland Rate Relative Harmfulness of Various Tobacco and Nicotine-Containing Products

  • The linear regression analysis indicated that relative to women, men consider slim cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes to be more harmful than traditional cigarettes (p < 0.05).
  • The smokers of traditional cigarettes reported menthol cigarettes to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes, relative to the non-smokers (p = 0.05).


2016: Perceived Relative Harm of Selected Cigarettes and Non-Cigarette Tobacco Products—A Study of Young People from a Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Rural Area in Poland

  • The smokers of traditional cigarettes reported more harmfulness (compared to traditional cigarettes) in menthol, slim cigarettes, and e-cigarettes comparing to the non-smokers (p ≤ 0.03).


United Kingdom or countries in the UK

Consumers

2022: Do smokers' perceptions of the harmfulness of nicotine replacement therapy and nicotine vaping products as compared to cigarettes influence their use as an aid for smoking cessation? Findings from the ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys

  • We analyzed data from 1,315 current daily smokers (10+ cigarettes per day) who were recruited at Wave 1 (2016), and who reported making a quit attempt by Wave 2 (2018) of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys in Australia, Canada, England, and the United States.
  • Consistent with past studies,our findings confirm that harm perceptions influence nicotine product use, with accurate perceptions associated with greater likelihood of use as a smoking cessation aid, whereas inaccurate perceptions appear to deter their use for this purpose.


2022: Exposure to Negative News Stories About Vaping, and Harm Perceptions of Vaping, Among Youth in England, Canada, and the United States Before and After the Outbreak of E-cigarette or Vaping-Associated Lung Injury (‘EVALI’)

  • Between 2017 and February–March 2020, youth exposure to negative news stories, and perceptions of vaping harms, increased, and increases were exacerbated during and immediately after ‘EVALI’. By August 2020, exposure to negative news stories returned to 2019 levels, while perceptions of harm were sustained.


2022: The Khan review Making smoking obsolete

  • However, there is lots of confusion, even misinformation, about vaping. The most common relates to its harm. I have spoken to the very best academics and scientists across the country and internationally. They all told me that vaping is far less harmful than smoking.
  • In cigarettes, we know that it is not the nicotine that kills you but the other thousands of toxic chemicals such as tar and carbon monoxide. Vapes give smokers the nicotine they crave but protect them from the toxins they would inhale from a cigarette.


2021: Video: Depression causes vaping!

  • In this talk Professor Notley will discuss the latest evidence exploring associations between nicotine use and common mental health conditions, including depression.
  • Interpretive assumptions will be drawn out, including inappropriate claims of causal relationships between vaping and depression.


2021: Effects of brief exposure to misinformation about e-cigarette harms on twitter: a randomised controlled experiment

  • This is the first study to explore the effect of exposure to misinformation about e-cigarette harms on Twitter, showing that after brief exposure to tweets that e-cigarettes are as or more harmful than smoking, current smokers may be deterred from using e-cigarettes (measured with intention to purchase e-cigarettes) as a harm reduction strategy. They are also more likely to wrongly believe that e-cigarettes are more harmful than regular cigarettes.
  • The increasing trends of misperceptions about the relative harms of e-cigarettes compared with regular cigarettes are important for public health because perceived harms of e-cigarettes are associated with smokers' willingness to use e-cigarettes6 as a harm reduction strategy.


2020: Association between changes in harm perceptions and e-cigarette use among current tobacco smokers in England: a time series analysis

  • Between 2014 and 2019 in England, at the population level, monthly changes in the prevalence of accurate harm perceptions among current tobacco smokers were strongly associated with changes in e-cigarette use.
  • For every 1% decrease in the mean prevalence of current tobacco smokers who endorsed the belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful than combustible cigarettes, the mean prevalence of e-cigarette use decreased by 0.48%


2019: Harm perceptions of e-cigarettes and other nicotine products in a UK sample

  • Large proportions of UK smokers and ex-smokers overestimate the relative harmfulness of e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapy compared with smoking; misattributing smoking harms to nicotine is associated with increased misperceptions.
  • eCancer Article: Misperceptions about vaping common among UK smokers


2015: Nicotine “no more harmful to health than caffeine”

  • Alarmingly RSPH research reveals that 90% of the public still regard nicotine itself as harmful and the organisation is now calling for measures to promote safer forms of nicotine products to smokers and make it harder to use tobacco.


Health Care

2018: E-cigarettes as a Smoking Cessation aid in Cancer Patients: Health Professionals knowledge, attitude and current practice

  • Over half of HPs believed their knowledge was not sufficient to recommend e-cigarettes to cancer patients, and 25% did not know whether e-cigarettes were less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes.


United States

Consumers

2022: Associations Between Nicotine Knowledge and Smoking Cessation Behaviors Among US Adults Who Smoke

  • This study provides longitudinal evidence that among adult smokers, misperceiving nicotine as a primary cause of smoking-related diseases may be associated with reduced cessation success and lower likelihood of using less harmful nicotine products. These misperceptions may therefore impede efforts to encourage smokers ready to quit to use evidence-based cessation support such as nicotine replacement during quit attempts and limit the success of policies designed to shift smokers to less harmful sources of nicotine.


2022: Do smokers' perceptions of the harmfulness of nicotine replacement therapy and nicotine vaping products as compared to cigarettes influence their use as an aid for smoking cessation? Findings from the ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys

  • We analyzed data from 1,315 current daily smokers (10+ cigarettes per day) who were recruited at Wave 1 (2016), and who reported making a quit attempt by Wave 2 (2018) of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Smoking and Vaping Surveys in Australia, Canada, England, and the United States.
  • Consistent with past studies,our findings confirm that harm perceptions influence nicotine product use, with accurate perceptions associated with greater likelihood of use as a smoking cessation aid, whereas inaccurate perceptions appear to deter their use for this purpose.


2022: Exposure to Negative News Stories About Vaping, and Harm Perceptions of Vaping, Among Youth in England, Canada, and the United States Before and After the Outbreak of E-cigarette or Vaping-Associated Lung Injury (‘EVALI’)

  • Between 2017 and February–March 2020, youth exposure to negative news stories, and perceptions of vaping harms, increased, and increases were exacerbated during and immediately after ‘EVALI’. By August 2020, exposure to negative news stories returned to 2019 levels, while perceptions of harm were sustained.


2022: Beliefs and Characteristics Associated With Believing Nicotine Causes Cancer: A Descriptive Analysis to Inform Corrective Message Content and Priority Audiences

  • About 61.2% of smokers believe nicotine causes cancer or don't know.
  • High perceived threat of tobacco may be overgeneralized to nicotine. High prevalence of the misperception among Non-Hispanic Black and low-income smokers is concerning, considering existing health disparities. Messaging should attempt to correct the misperception that nicotine causes cancer.


2022: Audio: Cliff Douglas on WOSU

  • Misinformation, continuum of risk, etc.


2022: A Close Look at Vaping in Adolescents and Young Adults in the USA

  • Public mistrust about ECs is exacerbated by the spread of misinformation and distortion of scientific truth.
  • Although EC use by young non-smokers is a legitimate concern, known risks from vaping are often greatly exaggerated; common misconceptions about EC use and the evidence to refute these misconceptions have been summarized in Table 2


2021: Video: Depression causes vaping!

  • In this talk Professor Notley will discuss the latest evidence exploring associations between nicotine use and common mental health conditions, including depression.
  • Interpretive assumptions will be drawn out, including inappropriate claims of causal relationships between vaping and depression.


2021: Effects of brief exposure to misinformation about e-cigarette harms on twitter: a randomised controlled experiment

  • This is the first study to explore the effect of exposure to misinformation about e-cigarette harms on Twitter, showing that after brief exposure to tweets that e-cigarettes are as or more harmful than smoking, current smokers may be deterred from using e-cigarettes (measured with intention to purchase e-cigarettes) as a harm reduction strategy. They are also more likely to wrongly believe that e-cigarettes are more harmful than regular cigarettes.
  • The increasing trends of misperceptions about the relative harms of e-cigarettes compared with regular cigarettes are important for public health because perceived harms of e-cigarettes are associated with smokers' willingness to use e-cigarettes6 as a harm reduction strategy.


2020: Perception of the relative harm of electronic cigarettes compared to cigarettes amongst US adults from 2013 to 2016: analysis of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study data

  • In this study, the proportion of US adults who incorrectly perceived e-cigarettes as equal to, or more, harmful than cigarettes increased steadily regardless of smoking or vaping status.
  • Current adult smokers appear to be poorly informed about the relative risks of e-cigarettes yet have potentially the most to gain from transitioning to these products.
  • The findings of this study emphasise the urgent need to accurately communicate the reduced relative risk of e-cigarettes compared to continued cigarette smoking and clearly differentiate absolute and relative harms.


2019: Perceived Comparative Harm of Cigarettes and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems

  • Between 2017 and 2018, the percentage of US adults who perceived ENDS to be less harmful than cigarettes decreased, while there was an increase in the proportion of US adults who perceived ENDS to be more harmful or much more harmful.


2019: Misperceptions of Nicotine and Nicotine Reduction: The Importance of Public Education to Maximize the Benefits of a Nicotine Reduction Standard

  • Recent population-level data highlight that 49%–80% of US adults incorrectly believe that nicotine is responsible for most of the cancer caused by smoking.
  • Additionally, between 23% and 43% of young adults responded “don’t know” to items on nicotine perceptions and more than 50% of respondents, including past 30-day tobacco users, perceived nicotine gum and patch to be as harmful or more harmful than cigarettes to overall health and specifically, to causing cancer or heart attack.


2019: Impact of Brief Nicotine Messaging on Nicotine-Related Beliefs in a U.S. Sample

  • Public education is an essential complement to the Food and Drug Administration’s efforts to move smokers away from combusted tobacco products and prevent non-users from trying nicotine and tobacco products.
  • Following exposure, nicotine education participants reported fewer false beliefs about nicotine, nicotine replacement therapies, e-cigarettes, and reduced nicotine cigarettes compared with the control conditions.
  • Nicotine messaging doubled the probability of a correct response (false, 78.3% vs 36.8%) to nicotine is a cause of cancer and dramatically reduced the probability of responding don’t know to this item (5.3% vs 26.0%).


Health Care

2021: Persistent Misperceptions about Nicotine among US Physicians: Results from a Randomized Survey Experiment

  • Question wording is important when measuring physicians’ beliefs about nicotine; however, even after accounting for question version, misperceptions about the direct health effects of nicotine were common and varied by sex and specialty.


2020: Nicotine Risk Misperception Among US Physicians

  • Overall, the majority of physicians “strongly agreed” that nicotine directly contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease (83.2%), COPD (80.9%), and cancer (80.5%). Comparatively fewer “strongly agreed” that nicotine directly contributes to the development of birth defects (32.9%) and 30.2% did not answer this question—a potential indicator of “do not know.”
  • While it is possible that some physicians may have misunderstood the question (e.g., considered harm caused by tobacco, rather than nicotine), results are consistent with other studies finding notable nicotine misperceptions.
  • PDF Version
  • Rutgers Article: Rutgers-Led National Survey Uncovers Doctors' Misconceptions About Nicotine Risks
  • Filter Article: Majority of Surveyed Doctors Misattribute Tobacco Harms to Nicotine


2007: Nurses' knowledge about the risk of light cigarettes and other tobacco "harm reduction" strategies

  • Nurses had misperceptions about nicotine replacement: 60% believed that nicotine causes cancer, 72% believed that nicotine patches could cause heart attacks, and 40% and 15% believed that a prescription is needed for the nicotine patch or gum, respectively.
  • Nurse misinformation could lead to inaccurate recommendations and failure to capitalize on the teachable moment provided by the medical encounter.


Unknown Nation(s)

Consumer

2021: Effect of brief nicotine corrective messaging on nicotine beliefs in persons who use opioids

  • Brief nicotine messaging increased the probability of a correct response to "Nicotine is a cause of cancer" (false, 63% vs. 36%) and reduced the probability of a don't know response (9% vs. 17%) compared to the no message control condition.


Suggestions to add to this page

2022: Twitter thread

2022: Vaping misrepresentations

2022: Vaping Safety Views Shifted Following Lung Injury Reports

2019: Misperceptions of Nicotine and Nicotine Reduction: The Importance of Public Education to Maximize the Benefits of a Nicotine Reduction Standard

2019: Perceived relative harm of using e-cigarettes predicts future product switching among US adult cigarette and e-cigarette dual users

2017: Changing Perceptions of Harm of E-Cigarettes Among U.S. Adults, 2012-2015

2017: Guest Post: Where Is FDA Going with Nicotine and Tobacco?

2016: What the Public Knows and Believes About Nicotine: Insights from Recent Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence

2011: Providing accurate safety information may increase a smoker's willingness to use nicotine replacement therapy as part of a quit attempt

2004: Stop-smoking medications: who uses them, who misuses them, and who is misinformed about them?


Learn more about misinformation - not nicotine related

2022: What Air Pollution in South Korea Can Teach the World about Misinformation

2022: Aspen Ideas Festival 2022 - Misinformation


Changing Minds & Bias - Why is it so hard to correct misinformation with facts?

NOTE TO SKIP

  • Find an add something from Amanda Ripley, author of "High Conflict"

2022: Podcast: You Are Not So Smart

  • The Truth Wins - Tom Stafford

2022: This Is How To Get People To Change: 5 Secrets From Research

2021: Video: Loretta J. Ross: Don't call people out -- call them in

(??): Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

2020: On Critics and Bullies

2019: Twitter thread by:Tamar Haspel - Guarding against her own biases

2018: Video: When was the last time you really changed your mind?

2018: Five Features of Better Arguments

2018: Why Smart People Are Vulnerable to Putting Tribe Before Truth

2017: Science Curiosity and Political Information Processing: Curiosity and Information Processing

2013: Video: 'The Righteous Mind': Why Liberals and Conservatives Can't Get Along


Keywords and abbreviations

Harm, harms, harm perception, harm perceptions, misperception, misperceptions, information, misinformation, disinformation, NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy, vaping, smoking, chew, snew, HTP (Heated Tobacco Product), HNB (Heat not Burn), NVp (Nicotine vapor product), ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery System), e-cig, e-cigarette, cigarette, smoker, vaper, NCNP (non-combustible nicotine products), SES (smoking by socioeconomic status)

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