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How many vapers are there in the UK?

By Jordan Millar 19th December 2022 3 Mins
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The UK now boasts 4.3 million vapers… an eye-watering increase of 500 percent in a decade which has triggered cheers and celebration within the industry.

E-cigarette use has reached a record high in the UK amidst the nation’s decade-long ‘vape revolution’, according to a new survey.

A comprehensive report from Action on Smoking and Health revealed there’s now 4.3 million vapers across the country…an increase of more than 500 percent in the past 10 years.

Using data from the annual ‘Smokefree GB’ survey – conducted by YouGov – ASH also confirmed the majority of current vapers (57 percent) are ex-smokers, while just 1.3 percent have never used a cigarette.

Hazel Cheeseman, deputy chief executive for ASH, called the growing number of smokers making the switch ‘great news’, saying vaping can be a ‘lifesaving tool’ for those struggling to ditch tobacco.

She said:

“Over the last decade we’ve seen a vaping revolution take hold…with millions having used them as part of a quit attempt.”

However, despite the public health successes of e-cigarettes, Cheeseman said we shouldn’t solely rely on them to end the tobacco scourge.

She highlighted that the reduced risk alternative doesn’t work for everyone, stressing that almost 30 percent of smokers have never even tried it.

Sadly, the report also found that a third of smokers still wrongly believe that vaping is more or equally as harmful as cigarettes…despite tireless efforts from the harm reduction community.

Cheeseman said:

“The government has said that a ‘vaping revolution’ will help them meet their ambition for a smokefree country by 2030, but it won’t be enough. “We need a comprehensive plan to help all smokers…the time for government action is now.”

Despite the ASH boss’s comments, the new report was still embraced by the UK vaping industry, with many pointing to it as a mark of success for e-cigarettes in the fight to end smoking addiction. Irish advocacy group Respect Vapers said the fact that the current vaping population had grown to record numbers was ‘fantastic’.

It said:

“Of those 4.3 million, 2.4 million are ex-smokers and 1.5 million are current smokers. “Of the current smokers group, those who vape daily smoke fewer cigarettes, proving what so many have before…vaping helps people quit!”

It added:

“This report shows that when governments acknowledge how vaping helps smokers, there are extremely positive results.”

The Respect Vapers’ cries of celebration were echoed by the likes of the UKVIA and the Independent British Vape Trade Association.

IBVTA CEO Gillian Golden said:

“It is a moment of pride for the industry…we now have more people than ever switching to a far safer alternative.

“Vaping is still a huge potential public health win and with the right policies and supports can help even more smokers become smokefree.”

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Jordan Millar