Health & Studies

UKECRF Vape Research Update

The UK E-Cigarette Research Forum has released its latest research round-up.

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The UK E-Cigarette Research Forum (UKECRF) is an initiative developed by Cancer Research UK in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) and the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS). Among other things, it brings together genuine experts to look at research related to vaping and tobacco harm reduction. It has released its latest research round-up.

The UKECRF [link] provides monthly updates aiming giving an overview of new vape. They are aimed at researchers, policy makers, health professionals and anyone else with an interest in tobacco harm reduction. The authors point out that the studies they present are but a snapshot of all the papers published over the last month.

Association of genetic liability to smoking initiation with e-cigarette use in young adults: A cohort study – [link]

A Bristol-based team said: “Our results indicate that there may be a shared genetic aetiology between smoking and e-cigarette use, and also with socioeconomic position, externalising disorders in childhood, and risky behaviour more generally. This indicates that there may be a common genetic vulnerability to both smoking and e-cigarette use, which may reflect a broad risk-taking phenotype.

This means they found a link between someone’s genes and their liability to start smoking and actual smoking status. It also found a positive link between smoking initiation and ever e-cigarette use, even among non-smokers.

It was a longitudinal study involving 7,859 participants but the UKECRF say the sample size was too small to extrapolate the findings to a population level. It pointed out that as ecig use was self-reported it may be subject to recall bias, and those who were 17 at the start of the research would’ve been less likely to have been exposed to vape products.

A further problem with the study was that the attrition rate was high – meaning the number of people dropping out of the study as it was ongoing – and this creates further issues for analysis.

England SimSmoke: the impact of nicotine vaping on smoking prevalence and smoking-attributable deaths in England – [link]

Researchers at King’s College’s National Addiction Centre, UCL’s Behavioural Science department, and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in the United States concluded that, “an indirect method of simulation modelling indicates that substantial reductions in smoking prevalence occurred in England from 2012-2019 coinciding with the growth in nicotine vaping product use.”

While this is an outstanding finding, supporting claims that vaping is far less harmful when compared to smoking, the UKECRF suggested that the fall in smoking rates “could” have been due to legislation changes, anti-smoking campaigns, and changes in the public’s attitudes.

Differences between ethnic groups in self-reported use of e-cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapy for cutting down and temporary abstinence: a cross-sectional population-level survey in England – [link]

The independent UCL group of Emma Beard, Jamie Brown, Sarah Jackson, Harry Tattan-Birch and Lion Shahab are well known to readers of POTV News as they have been involved in many positive pieces of ecig research.

In this study, they concluded: “In England, e-cigarette use by smokers for cutting down and temporary abstinence is less common among Asian and Arab/other ethnicity smokers compared with White smokers. Smokers of mixed/multiple ethnicity are the most likely to be using NRT compared with other ethnic groups for cutting down and temporary abstinence. E-cigarette use by smokers for cutting down and temporary abstinence has increased over time among White smokers, whereas prevalence in other ethnic groups has remained stable.”

The findings provide an insight for people allocating quit smoking resources, but the UKECRF pointed out that some confounders had been missed and the ethnic groups were very broad. It added: “The study did not consider other methods of smoking reduction – for example behavioural support or prescription medication. Therefore, it is unclear whether different groups are more likely to use these options.”

Other studies from March/April:

Patterns of use





Harms and harm reduction


Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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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.

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