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Decline in vaping during 2020 worries campaigners

October 19, 2020


Four hundred thousand fewer people are vaping in the UK compared to last year, highlighting a worryingly “stagnation” in efforts to switch smokers away from tobacco, anti-smoking groups warn.

Data from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) from its annual YouGov survey found that in March 2020 there were 3.2 million e-cigarette users in Great Britain down from 3.6 million in 2019. According to ASH: “Almost all users are smokers or ex-smokers with use among never smokers very low”.

The new data arrived as policy institute Cochrane released a review of international evidence on e-cigarettes, concluding that they are 70 percent more effective in helping smokers quit than nicotine replacement therapies [NRTs].

The Cochrane review confirms vaping is much less harmful than continuing to smoke, with the research finding little evidence of short-term harms. However, the institute said: “There was no information about the effects of long-term use (more than two years) of nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes.”

Reacting to the YouGov survey, Dr Ruth Sharrock, respiratory consultant at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead said: “I see patients in clinic and on the wards, who are battling the complications of smoking-related diseases every day. Many have never tried using e-cigarettes, despite there being growing evidence that this might be a more successful way to reduce harm from tobacco for smokers who have failed with other quit methods.

“I urge them to try to switch and reassure them that the risks are vastly reduced compared to the fact that half of cigarette smokers die from a smoking related disease.”