2.4m Britons choose vape to quit smoking

Published : 25 Aug 2021 08:28 PM | Updated : 28 Aug 2021 01:02 PM

Vaping debate is heating up again. While the World Health Organisation just released a statement pouring cold water on the use of vape in helping the reduction of tobacco consumption, evidence in the United Kingdom (UK) continues to show that it is very effective in helping smokers to quit traditional cigarettes.

A recently published survey by a tobacco control advocate in the UK has found nearly two-thirds (64.6 percent) of its vaping population comprising adults are ex-smokers who have quit smoking with vape, with the proportion growing year-on-year. The figure suggests there are approximately 2.4 million vapers who were smokers.

In addition, the proportion of never smokers remains low at 4.9 percent or approximately 200,000 adults.

According to the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), there are 3.6 million vapers in the UK in 2021 which is approximately 7.1 percent of its total population. Based on the survey, most of the current e-cigarette users who are ex-smokers say they vape to help them quit (36 percent) and to keep them off tobacco (20 percent), strengthening the claim that that vaping is helping smokers to quit traditional cigarettes.

According to UK’s Annual Population Survey, smoking prevalence among adults aged 18 and over in England has declined significantly. In 2011, 19.8 percent of adults smoked, falling to 13.9 percent in 2019, equivalent to a drop from 7.7 million smokers in 2011 to 5.7 million in 2019.

In fact, reports over the years by Public Health England (PHE) found that vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking conventional cigarettes and is helping 20,000 people quit a year. PHE also claims that that e-cigarettes are the most popular aid used in quit attempts for smokers in UK.

In 2020, 27.2 percent of people used a vaping product in a quit attempt in the previous 12 months, compared with 15.5 percent who used nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). It also said that concern about e-cigarette use as a gateway to smoking among young people was not supported by evidence in the UK, where regular vaping among young people who’ve never smoked is less than 1 percent.

In addition, evidence from a randomised controlled trial found that vaping was nearly twice as effective as NRT in helping smokers quit in a Stop Smoking Service setting in England, and a systematic review of the evidence has concluded that there is moderate-certainty evidence that e-cigarettes with nicotine increase quit rates compared to e-cigarettes without nicotine and compared to NRT.

In Malaysia, a survey commissioned by Malaysian Vape Industry Advocacy (MVIA) found that 88 percent of Malaysian vapers who used to smoke cigarettes have successfully quit smoking with the aid of vape.

The same poll also found that 79 percent, who currently vape and also smoke traditional cigarettes at the same time, have reduced smoking since taking up vape. Clearly, the role of vaping in helping smokers to quit traditional cigarettes for good cannot be ignored.