Katherine East

Dr Katherine East is an SSA Griffith Edwards Academic Fellow at King’s College London and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo. Dr East works on projects relating to nicotine and tobacco product use, perceptions, and policies, and co-leads the England arm of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Policy Evaluation Project.

Examining vaping harm perceptions and how they can be modified

There is strong evidence that e-cigarettes (‘vapes’) can help people to quit smoking. Vaping carries some risks but is less harmful than smoking. However, public perceptions of the health harms of vaping are increasingly out of line with the evidence. In 2023, four in ten adults who smoked incorrectly believe vaping is as, or more, harmful than smoking up, from a third last year and one in five in 2019. Studies have suggested that inaccurate perceptions can deter adults who smoke from switching to vaping. However, vaping is not risk-free, and perceiving it as such could encourage youth use.

This presentation describes a systematic review assessing: 1) to what extent are vaping harm perceptions predictive of any changes in vaping and smoking behaviours; 2) what interventions have been effective in changing vaping harm perceptions. The review considers studies among adults and youth. A total of 14,653 records were identified between 2007 and 2023, of which 97 met criteria for inclusion.