Help The University of Exeter

Posted 29th October 2020 by Dave Cross
Gina Collins at the University of Exeter has approached Planet of the Vapes to enlist our help in a research project. Gina is looking for people who are about to or have recently switched from smoking tobacco products to vaping, and participants will be rewarded for their time.

Gina told us: “I am a PhD researcher at the University of Exeter and I’m looking to interview former smokers who have recently quit (in the last month) to take part in our paid study on how people experience the switch from smoking to vaping.”

The United Kingdom has witnessed a prolific boom in vaping over the last decade, fuelled almost entirely by smokers swapping their toxic tobacco products for something that experts say is “at least 95% safer”. [link]

Last year’s Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) study found:

  • There are an estimated 3.6 million people vaping in Great Britain
  • 7.2 million smokers in the UK in 2018
  • The numbers dual using of ecigs and tobacco continued to decline
  • 2.2 million smokers became ex-smokers by switching and then stopped vaping as well

The numbers vaping dropped by 400,000 to 3.2 million this year but there is no indication why.

ASH said, “the main reason given for using e-cigarettes being to help them quit (31%) followed by to prevent relapse back to smoking (20%). Only 0.8% of never smokers are current vapers and never smokers who’ve ever vaped say they mainly did so just to give it a try (73%).”


Talking about her study, Gina Collins added: “While some of the health benefits of vaping compared to smoking have/are being researched, we feel that some of the wider effects of switching from smoking to vaping – such as how it might affect your sense of self and identity – are currently being overlooked. That’s why we want to talk to people at the very beginning of their vaping journey and speak to them over time to see if their views change.”

The study will be conducted over a series of three online interviews to investigate motivation for quitting, motivation for vaping, and how switching from smoking to vaping might affect identity.

The first interview will take place within a month of starting vaping, the second catch-up interview follows approximately three months later, and the final interview will be approximately six months after you started vaping.

Interviews will last approximately 45-60 minutes and will take place on Zoom. Interviewees will be offered a £10 Amazon voucher per interview.

Any information provided with be kept strictly confidential, secure, and will follow the guidelines set out by the British Psychology Society and those of the University of Exeter Ethics Committee.


Anyone interested in taking part can email Gina at [email protected] for more information.


  • E-cigarettes around 95% less harmful than tobacco estimates landmark review – [link]
  • In 2019 around half as many Britons now vape as smoke, and the majority are ex-smokers – [link]

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
Legion of Vapers