A recent report has concluded that an estimated 4.3 million people in Great Britain use vapes, an all-time high for usage as of 2022.
The data analyzed included the number of vape users in England, Wales, and Scotland.
The report itself was conducted using the findings from a YouGov survey that consisted of over 13,000 adults from across Great Britain.
The new information is being celebrated by many who understand that progress is being made.
“They (vapes) can be lifesaving tools for those struggling to quit. At the same time, we can’t rely on vaping to fully solve the problem of smoking,” said Hazel Cheeseman. “We must address the recent increase in youth vaping and put in place wider efforts to address smoking as vaping won’t work for everyone. The time for government action is now.”
Cheeseman is the deputy chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and is one of these people rejoicing in the new information, stating that this is “great news.”
What the Data Says
The milestone of 4.3 million current vapers represents an increase from last year’s 4.9% to the current 8.1% of the population.
Of these 4.3 million users, approximately 2.4 million of these users reported being ex-smokers. This equates to roughly 56% of current vapers. This, therefore, accounts for over half of the current smokers, proving that vaping has directly aided in smoking cessation with a great degree of success.
These adults also claimed to have been vaping for at least three years, meaning these ex-smokers have demonstrated positive indications that vaping provides long-term stopping power for smokers.
While there is no data yet comparing vaping and e-cigarettes to other smoking alternatives like nicotine patches and gum, it is clear, at least anecdotally, that vaping is proving itself to be not only a vital tool in smoking cessation, but possibly the best one yet.
Additionally, 35% of users reported using both vaping devices as well as traditional cigarettes. That may not seem like a positive stat in vaping’s favor. However, these dual users reported smoking significantly less, often opting for a vape device instead.
Another counterpoint the report provides is the fact that only 14% of the participants took up vaping solely for enjoyment. This refutes the idea that the appeal of things like flavored e-juice makes vaping irresistible to populations that otherwise would not adopt smoking.
What This Tells Us About Vaping
One of the most important questions that these statistics bring up is this: is vaping really as bad as the public eye and lawmakers are claiming?
A huge population of non-vapers are completely unaware of just how much safer vaping is compared to traditional cigarette smoking.
Additionally, it is often claimed that vaping in both adult and underage populations leads to the adoption of traditional cigarette smoking down the line. This argument is particularly used in reference to youth populations, as vaping has been deemed by both government officials and the misinformed public to be a gateway product leading to the known harm caused by cigarettes.
However, what this study shows is that only an estimated 350,000 current vapers had never smoked combustible tobacco products prior to taking up vaping. This translates to about 8% of current users. This is a relatively small population outside of those who are relishing in the benefits of breaking their smoking habits.
These figures strongly dispute the theory that the availability and appeal of vape products are enticing those who would otherwise not smoke into starting.
Government officials and lawmakers claim that these individuals are being put at risk entirely because vapes are both easily accessible and appealing as products. However, these are two of the most important aspects of vaping in terms of swaying traditional cigarette smokers away from their current habits.
This argument of vaping’s accessibility and appeal is one of the leading points that is often heard among those condemning flavored vape juices and disposables.
The UK’s Vaping Revolution
The UK is one of, if not the, world leader in terms of promoting vaping to aid in reducing the amount of harm caused by traditional cigarette smoking, which has been spearheaded by UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
This is part of the UK’s goal of becoming completely smoke-free by 2030. However, slow progress has meant that it is unlikely that this goal will be reached in time. Javid later assigned Dr. Javed Khan OBE to conduct an analysis of progress. This report outlines a selection of recommendations to aid in becoming smoke-free.
While there is some skepticism around Javid’s plan, it is likely that the government’s adoption of vaping has made a significant amount of impact in terms of lessening the negative connotations around vaping and e-cigarettes.
Another important aspect of the UK’s vaping endorsement is the lack of flavor bans that are ever-present in many states within the United States.
These two highly influential countries have adopted vastly different strategies regarding vaping, and this new information seems to only bolster the fact that government endorsement is the fastest way to true harm reduction, not the prohibitionist tactics displayed by the FDA.
Great Britain has reached a record 4.3 million vape and e-cigarette users. The news is likely a direct result of the UK government, particularly Health Secretary Sajid Javid, encouraging a ‘vaping revolution’ to aid in reaching the region’s goal of being smoke-free by 2030.
The statistics found within the recently released report help to argue against some of the most common misconceptions relating to vaping, particularly in terms of the appeal of vaping being a direct cause for consumers to begin vaping. If anything, the report provides substantial evidence that vapes are helping fight smoking and promote healthier living.