Health charity Action on Smoking and Health or ASH estimates that the number of ecigarette users in the United Kingdom has increased threefold at 2.1 million in the past 2 years. In 2010, only 8% of current smokers have tried the electronic devices; but now, more than half of the smoking population has tried vaping.
There were over 12,000 adult smokers who participated in this survey by ASH. Another study (separate) found that majority of these vapers are using the devices in hope of giving up or reducing their cigarette consumption.
Contrary to what vaping opponents often say, ecigs are not necessarily luring non-smokers to start smoking. There were non-smokers who have tried using ecigs, but they comprise just 1% of the subjects.
A series of surveys has been commissioned by ASH regarding vaping since 2010. The most recent was held only last March.
Of the current ecigarette users, about 700,000 are believed to be former smokers while 1.3 million were vaping while using conventional tobacco cigarettes. There were just 2.7% current smokers in 2010 that used ecigarettes regularly, but the number rose to 17.7% this year.
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Reasons For Vaping
When asked why they decided to use electronic cigarettes, 71% of the smokers responded that they wanted to give up smoking. There were 48% of the smokers who stated they wanted to reduce their tobacco consumption. 37% of them said they started using ecigarettes in order to economize money.
ASH chief executive Deborah Arnott stated that the remarkable rise in electronic cigarette use over the past years insinuates that many smokers are increasingly turning to vaping to aid them in cutting down or totally giving up smoking. More importantly, the usage of ecigs by non-smokers still remains at negligible rate.
The Smoking Toolkit Study
This is another study that covers England and has found that ecigarettes are sweeping over use of other nicotine products like nicotine gums and patches in aiding quitting.
This study likewise found that the fraction of smokers who have given up the habit during the previous year has grown while the smoking rates throughout England also continue to decrease.
Professor Robert West has led the study and he stated that although there are claims that ecigarette use risks renormalization of smoking, there simply are no evidences found that will support such claims. In contrast, electronic cigarettes could even be aiding in smoking reduction because more people choose to use them in quitting smoking.
Arnott also explained that while it is very important to control ecigarette advertising to ensure that kids and non-smokers are not targeted, their conducted study failed to obtain evidences that ecigs serve as gateway to smoking tools.
Also, the ASH survey also found that most vapers utilize rechargeable ecig products with replaceable ecigarette cartridges.
Welcoming Ecigarette Use
Even though electronic cigarettes show very promising potentials in solving public health issues related to smoking, many officials and public health advocates fail to give the devices due recognition.
Despite this, people would simply not be discouraged. Smoker-supporting group Forest is led by Simon Clark who stated that they welcome vaping and that they are glad people now have a better choice on what they could smoke.
However, Clark suggested that most smokers simply experiment with the devices rather than using them with resolve to quit smoking. He added there is no significant fall in the number of smokers yet. According to Clark, many smokers still find ecigs very basic and that its technology might still take years to improve.
With No NHS Recommendation
These devices are still not recommended by the NHS yet, but available evidence show that they could aid in smoke cessation. A team from University of Auckland, New Zealand released last year the results of the first ever clinical trial comparing quitting success rate between ecigs and nicotine patches.
Published on Lancet, the study showed that 5.8% of patch users succeeded while 7.3% of ecig users were able to quit. After 6 months, 57% of ecig users and 41% of nicotine patch users have reduced their cigarette consumption to about one half.