Data released this summer by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that smoking has declined dramatically in the UK in recent years. Is this phenomenon linked to vaping?
In 2010, 20.2% of the UK population were smokers but by 2016 that figure was just 15.8%. Excellent news!
Huge Fall in The Number of Smokers
Between 2015 and 2016, the country experienced its second biggest fall in smoking during the last 40 years. The UK Centre for Alcohol and Tobacco Studies commented that, “new figures indicate UK smoking is falling faster than would be expected from conventional tobacco control approaches…… the most likely explanation for the recent rapid decline is the increasing use by smokers of electronic cigarettes as a substitute for tobacco”.
Of course it is! Any smoker who has finally found salvation in vaping will already understand the benefits. But the waters have been muddied by conflicting reports regarding the safety of electronic cigarettes and suggestions that the devices may represent a temptation to children. There is actually no evidence that kids are turning to vaping, but hey!
The Smoking Ban
It has often been suggested that the ban on smoking in public places has been the primary motivating factor for smokers to quit. However, the rate of quitting in the five years following the ban was the same as the rate before the ban. It was when electronic cigarettes became freely available that there was an acceleration in the number of people who were giving up smoking. It doesn’t take Einstein to work out the what that means!
How Many Vapers Are There in the UK?
ASH UK estimate that there are 1.5 million vapers in the UK and the number is growing all the time. It is interesting that the fall in the number of smokers was so dramatic between 2015 and 2016. This was the time when Public Health England began to openly encourage smokers to transition to vaping.
What’s Happening Elsewhere?
Things have been very different in the USA where vaping is viewed less favourably by the authorities. Vaping has increased in popularity anyway as the benefits have been promoted by word of mouth and the efforts of bloggers. But the situation isn’t as promising as it is in the UK. Unsurprisingly the rate at which smokers are quitting in the US is not as impressive as it is on this side of the pond.
The UK Leads the Vaping World
According to a 2017 report by Ernst and Young, the UK is the most developed vaping market in the world. This country continues to see rapid declines in smoking whereas less liberal countries which place restrictions on vaping and the sale of equipment have not enjoyed such success. Perhaps it is time for the cynics to re-evaluate their stance! As we have mentioned elsewhere on this site, vaping is completely banned in some countries and yet smoking is permitted!
In the same report, Ernst and Young demonstrate the fact that vaping appeals to men and women equally. How often can you say that about anything? The report also suggests that vapers are moving away from tobacco flavours and are exploring all of the other exciting options.
The UK has demonstrated that Vaping is the way forward whilst other countries have continued to impose restrictions. One can only hope that a period of enlightenment will follow!