Health & Studies

Smoking Toolkit Study 2015

Latest findings from the STS team at University College, London, demonstrate the continuing power of electronic cigarettes for quitting smokers.

Share on:
Robert West, Jamie Brown and Emma Beard have released the latest update to the Smoking Toolkit Study. Using monthly surveys of 1,800 smoking and ecig-using households, it reveals some interesting changes in English e-cig usage.

The headline finding is that overall electronic cigarette use is in decline after a period of plateauing. This masks what is happening underneath the data – who is vaping and who is not using an e-cig anymore?

Vaping is evenly distributed across all age ranges although almost a quarter of users fall in the 25-34yrs bracket. Ex-smokers continue to vape more than current smokers.

Despite a drop-off in vaping, the use of nicotine replacement products remains in decline too. This contrasts with an increased uptake in the use of ecigs for recent ex-smokers. A possible conclusion that could be drawn from this is that a successful quit attempt using electronic cigarettes leads to the individual then stopping all forms of nicotine use.

Around 4/5s of vapers are still dual fuelling, although it is this segment that accounts for the drop off in e-cig use. Smokers choosing to give up giving up, or found cigalikes unrewarding, account for the decline in vaping.

Electronic cigarettes have raised the percentage of successful quit attempts from 24% to 35% but not impacted on young people. Those in the 16-25yr bracket stubbornly account for 30% of smokers – rather than taking up vaping because of the flavours, as claimed by anti-vapers, they are still adopting smoking at the same level.

The success of e-cigs has contributed to the highest ever quit-attempts and smoking cessation rates since 2007. The use of electronic cigarettes by non-smokers remains at negligible levels – reaffirming the claim that vaping is not a gateway into smoking.

Professor West’s conclusions:

  • E-cigarette use has taken a downturn, because of a reduction in use by people who continue to smoke; use for quitting continues to increase somewhat
  • Growth in electronic cigarette use has been accompanied by a reduction, albeit smaller, in use of licensed nicotine products and prescription medication but the trajectories are very different suggesting no causal connection
  • Rates of quitting smoking are higher than in previous years
  • Use of e-cigarettes by never smokers remains extremely rare
  • E-cigarettes may have helped approximately 20,000 smokers to stop last year who would not have stopped otherwise

The official NHS quit statistics were released alongside the STS findings but fail to mention electronic cigarettes, the success being achieved by the Stop Smoking Service in Leicester or the deaths related to the use of Champix.

Following the release of the STS data last year, the Economist wrote: “E-cigarettes really do help smokers give up the demon weed”


Photo Credit:

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
View Articles

Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

Join the discussion

Vaping News

Harm Reduction For The Rich

The United Kingdom risks becoming a harm reduction country only for the wealthy, according to Michael Landl of the World Vapers’ Alliance

Vaping News

Oz Ban Is Misguided

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Advocates says that Australia’s disposable vapes ban is “a puff in the wrong direction” and “misguided”

Vaping News

Cochrane Review Echoes Swedish Success

The Cochrane Review echoes the Swedish approach, finding less harmful alternatives like vaping are superior to other quit methods, says Smoke Free Sweden

Vaping News

A Manifesto for Smokefree Beginnings

The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group has produced its fourth national report: “A Manifesto for Smokefree Beginnings”