UKECRF Research Round-Up

Posted 1st October 2021 by Dave Cross
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.

The monthly briefing covering July and August 2021 was produced by Alice Davies from Cancer Research UK with assistance from Professor Linda Bauld at the University of Edinburgh.

From gateways to multilinear connections: A qualitative longitudinal investigation of the relationships between vaping and smoking among adolescent users

The qualitative UK study investigated the routes to and from vaping and smoking in teens.

The round-up says: “Most participants smoked before using e-cigarettes meaning there were limited accounts exhibiting the gateway effect. Incentives were used to boost recruitment which may have resulted in participant self-selection. The sample size was small, so findings cannot be generalised to the broader population.”

Trends in use of e-cigarette device types and heated tobacco products from 2016 to 2020 in England

The study from University College London looked at trends in device use and nicotine concentrations in 3786 adults over a four year period. It found that 53.7% used tank devices, 23.7% used modular devices, 17.3% used pods and 5.4% used disposables.

We Vape

The researchers said use of e-cigarette device types remained stable over time but modular devices were the second most commonly used device until 2020 when pods overtook them.

41% of e-cigarette users used a concentration of up to 6 mg/ml nicotine, 23.4% used 12-19 mg/ml, 13.4%used 7-11mg/ml, 14.2% used no nicotine, 4.1% used more than 20mg/ml. 3.2% of users didn’t know what they were using. Rates remained steady across the study period.

E-cigarettes versus nicotine replacement treatment as harm reduction interventions for smokers who find quitting difficult: randomized controlled trial

The study randomised 135 adults who were previously unable to stop smoking, to either an e-cigarette starter pack and instructions to purchase further supplies, or nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products of their choice. Participants received two behavioural support sessions. They were then monitored for sustained abstinence at four weeks and six months.

Researchers found that the rate of sustained validated abstinence was 19.1% in the e-cigarette group. This compared with just 3% in the NRT group – meaning vaping delivered over a sixfold advantage for smokers looking to quit.

Other studies of interest:

Patterns of Use





Harms and harm reduction


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