Vaping continues to be a public health success in the UK

Posted by DrMendelsohn on 11 May, 2017

Dollarphotoclub_59628753_web.jpgThe latest report on vaping in Great Britain by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has some important lessons for Australia. 

Six per cent of the population or 2.9 million adults in GB are currently using e-cigarettes. Of these 1.5 million have quit smoking altogether. Many others have gone on to quit smoking and vaping as well.

Use by non-smokers rare

In spite of the fears of critics, use of the e-cigarettes is confined almost entirely to current and ex-smokers and use amongst 'never smokers' remains rare. Only 0.3% of adult never smokers currently use an e-cigarette in GB.

Similarly in children, an ASH report in 2016 found that regular use (once a month or more) was rare and largely among children who currently or have previously smoked.

People vape to reduce harm from smoking

The main reasons given for using e-cigarettes are to quit smoking or reduce tobacco use. Saving money is another important motivator.

‘Dual use’ is falling

Smokers often go through a period of both smoking and vaping (dual use) initially and a majority then go on to stop smoking completely. It is pleasing to see that the rate of dual use is falling as smokers are transitioning to vaping only. In 2017, 52% of e-cigarette users had quit smoking completely, compared to only 35% in 2014.

Poorly understood risks

As in Australia, there is a poor understanding among smokers about the relative harm of e-cigarettes compared to smoking. In 2017 only 13% of adults correctly identified that e-cigarettes are a lot less harmful than smoking. In fact, the scientific evidence indicates that they are dramatically safer, probably in the order of 95% safer than smoking. It is unfortunate that this misinformation is likely to be discouraging smokers from trialling e-cigarettes which may help them quit.

ASH report

Use of e-cigarettes in Great Britain 2017
Annual survey of 12,500 adults



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