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Regular vaping low among young people: PHE report

March 4, 2019

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Regular vaping among young people remains low in Britain and has plateaued among adults, a study commissioned by the Public Health England (PHE) has found.

The study, which looked at the use of e-cigarettes, has found increasing experimentation with e-cigarettes among young people in recent years. However, Only 1.7 percent of under-18s use e-cigarettes weekly or more, and the vast majority of those also smoke. Among young people who have never smoked, only 0.2 percent use e-cigarettes regularly.

The report focused only on the use of e-cigarettes. The health impacts of the product will be featured in another report, PHE said. The agency has commissioned three studies on vaping under the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan for England.

The first report prepared by the researchers at King’s College London also showed that the regular e-cigarette use among adults remains largely confined to smokers and ex-smokers, hitting a plateau. Even for adult vapers, ‘quitting smoking’ was the main motivation.

“In contrast to recent media reports in the US, we are not seeing a surge in e-cigarette use among young people in Britain,” said John Newton, Health Improvement Director at PHE.

“We will keep a close watch on young people’s vaping and smoking habits to ensure we stay on track to achieve our ambition of a smoke-free generation.”

Despite e-cigarettes now being the most popular quit aid, just over a third of smokers have never tried one. Only 4 percent of quit attempts through Stop Smoking Services in England are made using e-cigarettes.

The report recommended that Stop Smoking Services should do more to encourage smokers that want to quit with the help of an e-cigarette.

“With just over a third of adult smokers having never tried an e-cigarette, there is a clear opportunity for more smokers to try a method which has helped many others to quit. Smokers should be advised to stop smoking as soon as possible and explore all available options for support, including e-cigarettes,” said Ann McNeill, Professor of Tobacco Addiction at King’s College London, and lead author of the report.

Smoking rates in young people have plateaued in recent years, while smoking rates among adults continue to fall, with just under 15% of adults in England smoking, according to government figures.