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British Vapers Are Not Cool

European bureaucrat declares vaping uncool and ignores British success.

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A recent report produced by Ernst & Young LLP says that that the British are leading the way in Europe, in switching from tobacco smoking to the 95% safer vaping alternative. Predictably, rather than embrace the news, the European Union’s top health bureaucrat declares vaping “uncool”.

The report includes several findings other than our success at quitting cigarettes.

The vape market has doubled in size from 2015, with an estimated 6.1 million Europeans vaping in 2016. The UK has the largest percentage of vapers in its population (4.2%), with France the second largest (3.1%). The company predicts a global market will be worth around $12 billion by 2020.

Over 40% of people who vape are “regular” vapers rather than occasionally vaping. In the UK, 52% of vapers are described as regular vapers – this number falls to 49% in France but soars to 63% in South Korea.

More European vapers switched to becoming regular users, and away from dual-use of vape and tobacco, over the three-year study period. Dual-users accounted for around two-thirds of vapers back in 2013, but by last year they had fallen to two-fifths of people who use electronic cigarettes.

The report demonstrates that most vapers are over-30s and roughly made up of equal numbers of men and women. The dominance of the cigalike in the marketplace is a thing of the past; over 60% of vapers prefer to use modular devices (where they can change the tanks, mod and coil).

Puncturing the balloon of lies coming from the United States, three quarters of vapers prefer to use non-tobacco flavours – making a nonsense of claims that sweet flavours are designed to lure children into nicotine use.

Three quarters of vapers prefer to buy from specialised stores, either bricks & mortar or online (with website destinations being the preferred option of advanced device users).

The biggest reason given for the switch to vaping from smoking was that of it being safer. Perversely, the reason smokers gave for not wanting to swap their packs of carcinogens and toxins was that they felt vaping was “harmful”.

One of Ernst & Young’s directors, Peter Arnold said: “Our report shows that this is a rapidly growing and evolving market. Consumers are driving innovation in devices, flavours and nicotine levels. There are now more regular consumers and evidence of increased migration from dual to sole use”.

Of course, none of this matters to Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. He has gone on record as saying that he opposes electronic cigarettes becoming another cool recruiting tool, to attract new young smokers. Even though, according to Euractiv, “Brits have switched to vaping at the rate of one person every four minutes during the last four years”, Andriukaitis refuses to acknowledge the health dividend.

Emphasizing his nanny-state credentials, he added: “This is why, in the new EU law, we have foreseen specific safety standards for e-cigarettes. They also need to feature a health warning. If they are sold to help people quit smoking, then this must be done in a proper manner and their consumption should be followed by a specialist.”

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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