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Every year, Action on Smoking And Health conduct a survey amongst adults who are smokers as well as users of E-Cigarettes, and ask various questions to understand the behaviour and attitude towards vaping that they have.
Last year saw a record number of Adult users of E-Cigarettes reported, which was fantastic to see and this year, the number has increased even further! It’s now reported that there are 4.7 million adult users of E-Cigarettes in the UK as of March 2023 which is just what we want to see!
In this blog, I’m going to go over the results of this survey conducted by ASH UK and pick out key parts I want to discuss, including the still massive misperception from people that Vaping is as harmful as smoking! Let’s get into it!
The Use Of E-Cigarettes Amongst Adults In The UK in 2023
As mentioned, Action on Smoking And Health have been conducting these surveys for the last decade or so, and I have referenced them a lot in some of my previous blogs due to the fact that they are such a good and reliable source of information and always provide accurate statistics I know I can rely on.
In 2022, the number of adult users of E-Cigarettes was reported to be 4.3 million, which equated to 8.3% of the adult population in the UK. This was a number never seen before, and was a significant leap from the previously reported 7.1% back in 2021.
And now in 2023, this number has grown even more with 4.7 million adult users of E-Cigarettes equating to a whopping 9.1% of the countries adult population now using E-Cigarettes! After somewhat of a torrid year for Vaping and E-Cigarettes with all of the negative media and press surrounding it and our industry, to see the number grow is something which has given me a glimmer of hope that things are still moving in the right direction.
The break down of who these vapers are is;
- 2.7 million (56%) are ex smokers
- 1.7 million (37%) are current smokers
- 320,000 (1.1%) are never smokers who now vape
A pretty even spread, but the highlight being the majority of current vapers are ex smokers who have successfully made the transition from smoking to vaping which is no easy task in itself!
Why Do People Vape?
I’ve written a separate blog about this topic which you can read here, but I’m going to take a look at the reasons that people gave in this survey for a more up to date and accurate reading to look at the behaviour of current vapers and why they choose to use e-cigarettes.
Looking at the reasons that ex-smokers gave, the primary reason being that choose to vape to help them quit smoking, which should come as no surprise really! 22% said it was to prevent them from relapsing and going back to smoking, 14% said they enjoy the experience and 12% said they vape to save money.
Breaking this down, the save money reason being a lower percentage really does come as a surprise to me as I expected it to be higher, especially with the price of cigarettes and tobacco hitting an all time high this year, and it’s now getting to a point where people are being priced out of smoking with the average price of 20 cigarettes exceeding the £12 mark which is ridiculous!
Another key point to pick out here is the volume of smokers who vape to help prevent them from relapse, and this is crucial as they’ve made the transition and obviously rely on having access to vaping products such as flavoured vape juice to stop them from going back to smoking. This is why it’s imperative that vape flavours must be left alone and not banned, like what has been suggested by anti-vaping groups and also what’s actually happened in some countries dotted around the world.
Banning vape juice flavours is just so counter productive in my eyes, and whilst it may seem like a good fix in the eyes of anti-vaping groups, it’s actually going to cause more harm than good as people will just go back to smoking and this will just unravel a whole host of problems, such as mortality rates from smoking increasing as well as costs to the NHS going back up, and hospital admissions also increasing.
Taking a look at the reasons that current smokers are vaping is to try and help them cut back on smoking, as well as helping them quit. This is called “Dual Using” which is when a person still smokes alongside using a vape as well. Contrary to the news reports of Dual Using being bad for you, it actually isn’t as bad as they make out, if at all. A lot of people will struggle to just make the complete switch, so using both isn’t a bad option, and you’ll probably gradually find that you’ll naturally start smoking less as you’re getting enough nicotine from your vape.
Perceptions of Harm And What People Are Getting Wrong About Vaping
Despite there being such a high volume of adult users of E-Cigarettes here in the UK, there still is an equally high volume of misperception by people about Vaping and the apparent “harm” it can have to a person. This is down to the scaremongering tactics of the media and anti-vaping groups publishing false information that people are accepting as the truth, which is arguably the most frustrating thing to see working in the vaping industry.
The stand out statistic that comes out of this survey, is staggeringly FOUR in TEN smokers wrongly believe that Vaping is as or MORE harmful than what smoking is! This has increases from a 1/3 compared to last year which is really disheartening to see. There’s been plenty of negative press published over the last year to do with Vaping, especially because the recent boom in popularity of Disposable Vapes has encouraged people to start posting anything and everything bad about vaping, with some of it being so farfetched it’s laughable and sadly people are believing it!
The irony also that so many smokers, who are happily smoking cigarettes which is known to contain over 7000 different chemicals with 10% being known cancer causing chemicals as well, believing that E-Cigarettes, which have been deemed 95% safer than smoking by Public Health England, are more harmful than cigarettes!
It isn’t until we get to the ex-smokers who are now active users of E-Cigarettes that we start to see some sense being spoken, with 75% of them correctly identifying that vaping is less harmful than smoking, a prime example that people don’t actually know the safety of e-cigarettes unless they’ve actually used them!
Vape Devices Used And Why Do People Use Disposable Vapes?
Finishing up this article with taking a look at what devices people have been preferring to use over the course of the year passed, and it comes as no surprise that the use of Disposable Vapes remains high amongst vapers, and there was some interesting reasonings as to why people prefer using them.
The traditional refillable tank system vape device remains the most popular amongst vapers with 50% admitting they use them as their main device. However, this has decreased from 2021 when it was 77% so quite a big drop.
So what are people using instead? You shouldn’t be surprised at the answer…Disposable Vapes! Back in 2021, the amount of people that used Disposable Vapes was only 2.3% but moving to this year’s survey and the amount of people that are now using them has sky rocketed up to 31%! That’s such a big increase in a relatively short space of time. If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you’ll know that Disposables have so many downsides to them, but still people use them but why?
The majority of young adults using these devices is the catalyst for the numbers being driven up, with them being the most popular choice amongst 18-24 year olds. Vapers in this survey said that the convenience of use as well as price points are a crucial deciding factor in what vape device they choose to use, however ASH said they could not determine which devices deliver these benefits the best.
32% of people surveyed said that they choose Disposables for the convenience factor, 21% said it’s easier to get their flavour preference from and 11% said that it’s cheaper. The final point there is what I’m going to focus on here, is that people are still believing the fact that Disposable Vapes are cheaper than actual refillable vape devices when in fact they are far from it!
A single Disposable Vape can cost anywhere from £4-£6 and can only last for a day before it runs out, so you’d be forking out over £30 a week on Disposable Vapes, where if you bought your vape juice from us at Vape69, a single 10ml bottle would last you around 3 days, so you’d only be spending just over £1 a week to vape, it’s a no brainer really and proves Disposable Vapes ARE NOT CHEAPER!!
And this is where I’m going to conclude my blog taking a look at the results of this survey. As always, another fascinating insight into the thoughts of people surrounding the topic of vaping, as well as the behaviours of current adult vapers as well.
I’m over the moon to see the number of adult users of E-Cigarettes increase yet again, which in theory should mean that the smoking prevalence amongst adults should have come down as well as it has matched up year on year, but I haven’t seen any information on this as yet. I am disheartened to see the misunderstanding over the safety of E-Cigarettes still being quite high, and think there could still be a lot more education and information put out by the correct bodies to help people understand things a bit better than what it currently is.
I’d love to see England become a Smoke Free country by 2030, and steps are being taken in the right direction for this to be achieved, but for every step taken in the right direction, it feels like 3 backwards thanks to misinformation about Vaping and the safety of it sending people in the opposite direction. I’m hopeful for the future and will be keeping a keen eye on the statistics as they come out and hopefully the numbers will continue to increase as they have been!