Vaping Helps UK Smokers Quit

Posted 21st October 2019 by Dave Cross
UK store sales have held firm despite the rash of bad news from the United States, according to The Convenience Store. Sales are “growing at 37% in value year-on-year”. On the back of this good news comes new research that says vaping helps between 50,000 and 70,000 quit smoking in England every year.

The Convenience Store says that while “UK convenience retailers say that existing vapers are broadly unconcerned about the US headlines…ASH is concerned that negative coverage could be deterring some smokers who would like to quit by trying vaping.”

“Those considering vaping should be reassured that e-cigs are regulated in the UK in line with a set of European-wide rules by our medicines regulator, the MHRA,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH. “Vapers should not be scared back to smoking by the news of vaping illness in the US. Nor should smokers stick to smoking rather than switch to vaping.”

This means that the latest study out of University College London is great news.

Conducted by Emma Beard, Robert West, Susan Michie and Jamie Brown, “Association of prevalence of electronic cigarette use with smoking cessation and cigarette consumption in England” has found that vaping can be helping up to 70,000 smokers a year kick the habit.

The paper’s authors say that these quitters would have continued smoking were it not for vaping. Moreover, the quit attempt was permanent – demonstrating better results than other forms of cessation.

Dr Beard said: “This study builds on population surveys and clinical trials that find e-cigarettes can help smokers to stop. England seems to have found a sensible balance between regulation and promotion of e-cigarettes. Millions of smokers are using them to try to stop smoking or to cut down the amount they smoke.”

George Butterworth, senior policy manager at Cancer Research UK, commented: “We don’t yet know their long-term impact. We strongly discourage non-smokers from using them. But research shows that vaping is less harmful than smoking tobacco and can help people to stop smoking, so it’s good that over 50,000 people managed to give up in 2017. For the best chance of quitting, get support from a stop smoking service, who can help you find the right tools for you.”

The research used time series analysis of population trends to provide up‐to‐date estimates of how changes in the prevalence of electronic cigarette use in England have been associated with changes in smoking cessation activities and daily cigarette consumption among smokers in England.

The authors concluded: “Changes in prevalence of e‐cigarette use in England have been positively associated with the overall quit rates and quit success rates.”

Published in the Addiction journal, the study adds support to the UK’s approach, supported by Public Health England, that says vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking.


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker