Vaping Research Insights: The UK Landscape in 2023

November 27, 2023

The realm of vaping is continually evolving, and research is expanding rapidly. We've compiled some of the most intriguing and valuable statistics on vaping as of 2023 to provide you with the latest insights.

Vaping Statistics Reveal Health Advantages Over Smoking

  • At Least 95% Less Harmful: According to the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, vaping is deemed at least 95% less harmful than smoking. Shockingly, 39% of current smokers mistakenly believe that vaping is as harmful as, or more harmful than, smoking.
  • Toxin Exposure Reduction: Switching from smoking to vaping leads to a substantial reduction in exposure to toxins causing cancer, lung diseases, and cardiovascular issues, as per researchers at King’s College London.
  • 70% Reduction in Diseases: Research from Brunel University London indicates that making the switch to vaping could result in a 70% reduction in smoking-related diseases, potentially saving the NHS £500 million annually if half of smokers transition.

UK’s Vision for a Smoke-Free Future

  • 2030 Smoke-Free Ambition: The Tobacco Control Plan for England envisions England as smoke-free by 2030, where the smoking rate drops to 5% or less among adults.
  • Vaping as a Crucial Tool: The Khan review emphasizes vaping as a critical recommendation for achieving the 2030 smoke-free goal, urging the dissemination of accurate information about the benefits of switching from smoking to vaping to healthcare professionals.

Vaping vs. Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs): The Facts

  • 63% Higher Quit Rate: A review in The Pharmaceutical Journal suggests that individuals using e-cigarettes are 63% more likely to quit smoking compared to those using other NRTs.
  • Twice the Effectiveness: Cochrane Review findings reveal that e-cigarettes are twice as effective as other NRTs in aiding smoking cessation.
  • Fewer Side Effects: The National Institute for Health and Care Research reports that e-cigarettes have fewer side effects compared to common NRTs like patches and gum.

Vaping During Pregnancy: Dispelling Myths

  • 10% Still Smoking at Birth: Despite the challenges of quitting, a report from The Royal College of Midwives reveals that over 10% of pregnant women were still smoking at childbirth. However, those who exclusively used vapes were classified as non-smokers.
  • Early Quitting Equals Low Risk: Quitting smoking early in pregnancy carries the same risk of complications as non-smokers, according to The Royal College of Midwives. Early smoking cessation can almost entirely prevent adverse effects.
  • E-cigarettes Over Patches: Studies from Queen Mary University of London and the National Institute for Health Research demonstrate that e-cigarettes are almost twice as effective and safer than nicotine patches for pregnant women looking to quit smoking.

Cognitive Risks of Smoking

  • Twice the Cognitive Decline: Smoking is associated with a two-fold increase in cognitive issues, such as memory loss and confusion, in individuals over 45, as revealed in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Quitting as Prevention: The same study indicates that quitting smoking in your 40s and 50s can stave off cognitive decline, reducing the likelihood of experiencing cognitive issues in middle age—a precursor to conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Lack of Awareness: While 70% of smokers are aware that smoking causes lung diseases and cancer, only 18% are cognizant that it is linked to dementia, as highlighted by Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Recent Data on Smoking Health Risks

  • Leading Cause of Preventable Illness: Smoking remains the UK's leading cause of preventable illness and death, with two out of every three lifelong smokers expected to die from smoking-related diseases, as reported by the government.
  • Annual Smoking-Related Deaths: ASH reports that 75,000 people die from smoking in the UK annually, compared to only five reported fatalities potentially linked to vaping products in the last 12 years.
  • Misperceptions on Harm: The ASH survey for 2023 indicates that four out of every ten smokers incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful as, or more harmful than, smoking.

Cost Analysis: Smoking vs. Vaping

  • Saving £780 Annually: University College London’s study suggests that switching from smoking to vaping could save individuals up to £780 per year.
  • Average Annual Spending on Tobacco: On average, smokers spend £2,451 per year on tobacco products, contributing to the substantial economic cost of smoking to England estimated at £17.3 billion annually, according to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

Vaping and Smoking Trends in the UK

  • Decreasing Smoking Rates: The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that smoking rates in the UK have dropped to 12.9%, marking a significant decline in tobacco use.
  • Rising Vaping Numbers: The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) notes an increase in e-cigarette use, with 8.7% of people in Britain currently using them either daily or occasionally, up from 7.7% in 2021.
  • Impact on Youth Smoking: The Independent British Vape Trade Association survey suggests that vaping has contributed to a 20% decrease in the number of 18-year-olds regularly smoking—from 24.5% in 2021 to 19.5% in 2022.

Why Make the Switch?

The comprehensive data and research on vaping and smoking highlight the substantial health benefits of transitioning from tobacco products to vaping.


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