Adult vapers triple over the last two years. One third use the product to give up; two-thirds also smoke tobacco.
THE number of adults using e-cigs has tripled over the last two years, with 2.1m now vaping. A YouGov survey commissioned by the anti-smoking pressure group Ash (Action on Smoking and Health) shows that one third are former smokers who used the product to help them quit while two-thirds also smoke tobacco.
The number of non-smokers experimenting with e-cigs is negligible – 0.1% according to the survey.
Children are aware of e-cigs – two-thirds of 11-18 year-olds and 83% of 16-18 year-olds had heard of them – but the few young people who used e-cigs were already smokers. Some 98% of the 11-year-olds who had heard of the product had never used them, going down to 89% of 18-year-olds.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “The dramatic rise in use of electronic cigarettes over the past four years suggests that smokers are increasingly turning to these devices to help them cut down or quit smoking. Significantly, usage among non-smokers remains negligible.
“While it is important to control the advertising of electronic cigarettes to make sure children and non-smokers are not being targeted, there is no evidence from our research that e-cigarettes are acting as a gateway into smoking.”
The YouGov survey also asked vapers about the products they used. Most regular vapers use a rechargeable product with either replaceable, pre-filled cartridges or a reservoir or tank. Only 8% use disposable products regularly, although 20% report that the first electronic cigarette they tried was a disposable brand.
Current smokers prefer a rechargeable kit with replaceable cartridges and are also more likely to use a disposable brand. Former smokers tend to go for the rechargeable version.
Vapers who also use tobacco report they use e-cigs to reduce the amount they smoke (48%) and to save money (37%). Nearly three-quarters (71%) of former smokers vape to help them give up smoking, or to keep off tobacco (48%).
A separate survey – the Smoking Toolkit Study – has also found smokers using e-cigs instead of nicotine replacement products to help them quit. Leader of the study, Professor Robert West, said: “Despite claims that use of electronic cigarettes risks re-normalising smoking, we found no evidence to support this view. On the contrary, electronic cigarettes may be helping to reduce smoking.”
l E-cigs feature, page 118.