According to the NHS, a recent survey released by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) revealed that the number of e-cigarette users since 2012 has tripled to a staggering 2 million. While this data, alongside information stating that it’s very rare for non-smokers to pick up this habit, only covers a short period of time (from 2010 to 2014) it may suggest a brighter future for e-cigs. Let’s take a look at who ASH are and what they found during their study.
A little bit about ASH
ASH is a public health charity that works towards eradicating the harm caused by tobacco-based products. They regularly provide businesses as well as governments with community bulletins and newsletters with published information surrounding the topic of smoking. The charity also release annual reports and help people to develop an awareness of the current tobacco epidemic without attacking or patronising former and current smokers.
Why was it conducted?
In 2010, 2012 and 2013, ASH conducted a collection of surveys in order to try and monitor the use of electronic cigarettes in adults. During the 2013 survey, they also introduced a new survey which monitored use in children (from age 11 to 18). The results of these surveys were then used to predict a prevalence of e-cig use in Great Britain.
Unlike the adult surveys which recruited roughly 12,000 18+ participants, the March 2013 study involved around 2,000 children.
The overall aim of the studies was to evaluate both the use of and outlooks on electronic cigarettes amidst non-smokers, ex-smokers and smokers.
What did they find?
A few of ASH’s findings include:
- It was predicted that around 2.1 million adults in the UK use e-cigs
- In 2014, it was found that e-cig use amongst non-smokers is negligible with only 1.1% of non-smokers trying the devices
- Around one third of e-cig users are ex-smokers while roughly two thirds are current smokers
- Around 35% of the population of adults in Britain believe electronic cigarettes are “good for public health” and only 22% disagreed with this statement
- The primary reason smokers gave for using the devices was to help them reduce their smoking habit. Ex-smokers regularly reported that they used them to help them kick the habit altogether
These are just a few findings released by ASH. While there are still concerns over the safety of these devices, these findings help to suggest that the products may not be renormalizing smoking, that non-smokers aren’t as attracted to these products as we may think and that perhaps there is a light at the end of the tunnel for electronic cigarettes.
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