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Smoking cessation

Data suggests there are now half as many vapers as smokers

Survey data from Action on Smoking for Health show that there are an estimated 3.6 million people in Great Britain who use e-cigarettes.

Man holding e-cigarette

Source: Shutterstock.com

The proportion of vapers who are ex-cigarette smokers has grown each year, from 33% in 2014 to 54.1% in 2019

E-cigarette use continues to grow with an estimated 3.6 million people in Great Britain currently using e-cigarettes, survey data from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has revealed.

In its survey report, published on 25 September 2019, ASH suggested that as vaping increases and cigarette smoking declines, there are now more than half as many vapers as smokers. Data from the Office for National Statistics show that around 7.2 million people in the UK smoked cigarettes in 2018, lower than the 7.4 million in 2017.

More than half (54.1%) of current vapers who responded to the ASH survey (carried out by YouGov) were ex cigarette smokers and the proportion has grown each year, from 33.0% in 2014 to 54.1% in 2019. The survey also shows how the proportion of vapers who also smoke has declined, from 65.1% in 2014 to 39.8% in 2019. 

The main reason given by ex-smokers for using e-cigarettes was primarily to help with a quit attempt and help to prevent relapse.

“The ASH Smokefree GB survey is the longest running survey of e-cigarette use, providing the most up-to-date evidence available on how vaping is evolving in Britain,” said Ann McNeill, professor of tobacco addiction at King’s College London, and lead author of the independent evidence reviews of e-cigarettes for Public Health England.

“More than half of current vapers are ex-smokers compared with only a third in 2014,” she added.

“Vaping isn’t risk free, but it’s much less risky than smoking, which kills nearly 100,000 people a year in the UK.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207110

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