According to the BBC, it’s estimated that electronic cigarette users in the UK have soared by to a staggering 2.1 million. Also, around half of ex-smokers have tried these devices in comparison to 8% recorded in 2010.
A study conducted by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) found that the vast majority of e-cig users were using the devices to help cut down on their smoking habits. In addition, ASH claims that the use of these devices amongst those who have never touched a cigarette in their life remains at the very low figure of just 1%.
Since 2010, Ash has commissioned a number of surveys on the devices with the latest one being in March.
They found that out of those who have been estimated to be using the device, roughly 700,000 are predicted to be ex-smokers while 1.3 million are thought to have used or been using electronic cigarettes alongside traditional tobacco-based products. It was also found that current smokers who have made the switch to e-cigs have dramatically risen since 2010, from 2.7% to an incredible 17.7% this year.
When queried why they chose to use the devices, 71% of ex-smokers said that they “wanted to give up smoking” while 48% claimed that they wanted to diminish the amount of tobacco they consumed. 37% of participants stated that they used these devices to help save money.
Chief executive of ASH, Deborah Arnott, claimed: “the dramatic rise in use of electronic cigarettes over the past four years suggests that smokers are increasingly turning to these devices to help cut down or quit smoking. Significantly, usage among non-smokers remains negligible.”
The smoking toolkit study, which covers England, found that e-cigarettes are quickly overtaking the use of cessation nicotine products such as gum and patches. It was also discovered that the proportion of smokers who made the decision to kick the habit in the past year has increased and the smoking rates over the past year in England continue to fall.
Prof. Robert West, study leader, said: “Despite claims that use of electronic cigarettes risks renormalizing smoking, we found no evidence to support this view.”
“On the contrary, electronic cigarettes may be helping to reduce smoking as more people use them as an aid to quitting.”
Ms Arnott added: “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 to smoking.”
ASH’s study also suggested that the majority of vapers tend to use a rechargeable product.
Director of Forest, a well-established group that helps to support smokers, Simon Clark, said that he “welcomed the rise of e-cigarettes” and was “glad people had a choice of what to smoke.”
However, he admitted that he and his group felt that the majority of e-cig users were only experimenting with the devices rather than using them as an unofficial cessation tool.
“We haven’t seen a significant fall in smokers. Most smokers still find electronic cigarettes quite basic and it will take a few more years for the technology to improve.”by