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Recent studies have shown that there is currently the highest amount of Adult users of E-Cigarettes in the UK than there ever has been, with numbers hitting over the 3 million mark. This is spectacular to see, as this goes hand in hand with the smoking rates amongst adults in the UK dropping to the lowest number it’s ever been as well.
Many current vapers are ex-smokers who have made the successful transition to better their lives and wellbeing by stopping smoking and using a safer harm reduction method in the form of an E-Cigarette. But unfortunately, there still remains a high volume of adult smokers in the UK who simply do not trust vaping enough to make the switch, and would rather continue inhaling thousands of toxic chemicals in abundance through their cigarettes.
A recent “State of the Nation” report was conducted which looked at the UK Adult Smokers and their trust in Vaping, and the results make for some interesting reading for sure. In this article, I’m going to take a look at the results of this in detail and try and see exactly why there is still such a lack of trust when it comes to one of the most effective methods of Nicotine Replacement Therapy on the market today.
An Overview Of The Study
The study in question here was conducted by OnePoll to take a look at what degree that Vaping is currently trusted amongst the smoking community and the factors involved that may influence their trust levels in Vaping. The study itself was carried out amongst 2000 adult smokers in the UK, and this also included dual users which means they both smoked and vaped, and some who have also tried vaping in the past but no longer continue with it.
The study was commissioned by SMOORE International, who you may or may not have heard of. They are the “largest atomisation company in the world” according to their website, and they’re the company behind the FEELM brand, which is causing quite a stir within the vaping world with the use of innovative and new technology not seen used in Vaping devices before. They had a large presence at the recent Vaper Expo in the UK held earlier this month, and scooped several awards for their designs and tech as well, so they definitely know what they’re doing!
The basis of this study was laid out as the following:
- Perceptions of the relative harm of vaping versus smoking
- The degree to which they trusted vaping as an effective harm reduction tool
- The impact of their trust levels on their decision to use vaping as a quit method
- The importance of knowing more about the harm level of a vape product
- The influencing factors on smokers’ levels of trust in vaping
So let’s not hang around anymore and get into the results of this study!
Perceptions of Harm Of Vaping Versus Smoking
Starting off strong and flying out the starting blocks at break neck speed, the first part of this study looks at the perceptions of those surveyed that relates to the harm of Vaping when compared to smoking, and some interesting results come out here.
Despite the fact that Vaping is considered a lot safer than smoking (95% safer according to Public Health England) there’s still a huge perception of quite the opposite by adult smokers in the UK. Nearly 1 in 5 adult smokers thought that Vaping was MORE harmful than what smoking is, whilst nearly half of those asked (45%) believed that vaping came with the same amount of harm as what cigarettes did.
Interestingly, 76% of the 18-24 age bracket and 74% of the 25-34 age bracket believed vaping to be more harmful than smoking.
Trust In Vaping As An Effective Tool To Quit Smoking
There’s been some very heavy backing of Vaping as an effective tool to quit smoking in recent times. Whilst not available as prescription, Doctors and Stop Smoking services are opting to push forward the suggestion of E-Cigarettes to people who are wanting to quit smoking as they believe this is to be the most effective way. The Government have even announced the “Swap to Stop” scheme which will see 1 million free E-Cigarettes being given to smokers wanting to quit and make the change.
And to back this up, separate studies have been conducted which looked at groups of people using different methods to try and quit smoking such as using an E-Cig with nicotine, using an E-Cig without nicotine, and then others who used the more “conventional” methods of Nicotine Replacement Therapy such as Nicotine patches, gums, lozenges etc.
And unsurprisingly, it was the group who used E-Cigarettes that contained Nicotine that had the most success in quitting smoking and not feeling the urge to relapse and go back to cigarettes.
But sadly, despite the feelings of health professionals and their beliefs on Vaping being an effective tool, this doesn’t translate across as well amongst smokers that took part in this survey.
Whilst 1 in 10 respondents trusted vaping very much, over 1 in 10 didn’t trust vaping at all which is really disappointing to see. 29% trusted vaping “a little” whilst over 30% somewhat trusted vaping, so a pretty mixed bag on the views of trusting vaping, but the thing that sticks to me is the 1 in 10 trusting it very much.
What is interesting is that a map of the UK was published in this survey, with a breakdown of beliefs in each different part of the UK and it really did fascinate me. What stuck out to me is that 56% of people from Northern Ireland somewhat trusted vaping which is interesting because Vaping is getting absolutely leathered over there and the prospect of a total ban on Vaping isn’t too far off going on recent news stories that have broken of late.
Yorkshire & Humberside and the East Midlands were the regions with the highest percentages that “Did not trust vaping at all” whilst the South East were the region that “very much trusted” Vaping.
Top Factors Influencing The Lack Of Trust On Vaping
Moving on to the tail end of this study, and the next question was posed which read
“Which, if any, of the following reasons have caused you to have a lack of trust in vaping as an effective harm reduction tool to help you quit smoking?”
The results had 10 separate answers to choose from and each had a percentage score based on which the respondents answered to, I’m going to look at the top 4 of them.
Not surprising that the lack of long term clinical research showing vaping to be less harmful than smoking sat at the top with 35% of respondents choosing this as their answer. This is understandable as Vaping does lack any long term research due to it not being around long enough to fit the criteria needed to conduct what’s classed as “long term research”
The lack of information about the harm profile of different vaping products scored 31% which again is understandable as there is a distinct lack of information missing on certain products, most notably Disposable Vapes which are mass produced in China and do not have to adhere to any sort of regulations like what UK made products do under Tobacco Products Directive.
Negative reports and studies on Vaping came in third with 30% and this one really doesn’t shock me. Every week nearly something is published which condemns vaping and the majority of the time, it’s not always accurate and sometimes exaggerated to try and get the point across. People will often take what’s printed on websites and tabloids as gospel when in reality, a little bit of research would likely change their outlook on it.
And coming in 4th we see arguably the most interesting point with 21% of total respondents saying the “Inconsistency of Governments attitudes towards Vaping across the world” and this couldn’t be more accurate really. This is because in almost every country the views of the Government on Vaping is entirely different to the others which can easily cause confusion to most that are reading about it.
Take Australia for example, they’re now in the final stages of completely banning “recreational vaping” and only allowing people access to nicotine containing vape liquids if they have a valid prescription. They do not back Vaping in the slightest and it’s easy for people to see this and think “well there must be something wrong with it” yet here in the UK, the Government are excelling at promoting Vaping and the benefits of it, so it’s no shock that people don’t know what side of the fence to sit on!
What Could Be Done To Improve Your Trust In Vaping?
This is the final point I want to annotate of this study as it’s to me a key question that’s been asked and gives a clear indication of some simple steps which could be taken to help encourage people to have a bit more faith in vaping.
Long term research on Vapers health as a result of switching smoking was the top answer with 41% of respondents saying it, and that really does make the most sense really. It’s not something that won’t be done, and the fact it isn’t already out there is what could be holding a lot of people back to having more faith so give it another few years and hopefully there will be an improvement on the beliefs.
Public health campaigns promoting vaping with evidence-based facts of harm reduction came in with 30% and this is something I back as well. There’s plenty of evidence-based research reports out there currently, and I’m sure plenty more to be done as well, but sadly there’s also plenty of non evidence based studies that are damning Vaping and the benefits, so hopefully the good will outweigh the bad.
And the final answer I want to pick out is 23% said “More consistent and positive policy making around the world on Vaping” and as much as I’d love to see this, I just don’t think there will be a unison from every country when it comes to Vaping which is sad, but it’s also very realistic at the same time. One country can seem to influence another or several whether it’s for good or bad, but to get a worldwide positive outlook on vaping seems a bit far fetched especially when there’s countries that have completely outlawed Vaping and Vaping could land you in prison.
And we now reach the conclusion of this blog, and I hope it’s been as informative to you as it has been me and given somewhat of a clear insight to the current state of the nation as it was intended to. I want to make a few points to summarise my own beliefs on what could be done to help bring people onside to trusting vaping.
More education, better communication and evidence based research in abundance would be the first thing that can lead a positive charge to getting the “non believers” to change their mind slightly and have more of a broader mind when it comes to the safety of vaping. The UK Government here is doing a lot currently to promote Vaping as part of their “Smoke Free 2030” campaign, but it has been a lot of radio silence up until the last couple of months when things started taking off.
- Consistent and clear messages being broadcast via the medium of websites or news channels can massively help the cause, and would cause more people to pay attention. People will always remember bad news than good news, but if the outlets are flooded with good news, people won’t have a choice but to pay attention.
- Doctors and other smoking related health professionals must continue to play their part in promoting Vaping as an effective quitting tool to people who want to quit smoking. Whilst E-Cigarettes will likely never be available on prescription, the advice and backing of people using them will massively help the cause in changing people’s minds.
- Urgent action is needed to stop the percentage numbers of those who believe vaping to be more/as harmful of smoking from creeping up as this will effectively be undoing all the hard work that has already gone in to getting people on to the right side of belief that Vaping is NOT harmful like what cigarettes are.