STS Trends Update

Posted 5th February 2019 by Dave Cross
Smoking in England is a portal led by Professor Robert West, providing key information about smoking and smoking cessation patterns in England. The project is funded by Cancer Research UK and conducted by a team at University College London (UCL). They have released an update for the vaping trends in England.

The team measures smoking prevalence, motivation to stop, quit attempts, what people use when they try to quit, actual quit rates, regional differences, use of the stop smoking services and more.

The data is amassed from face-to-face and computer-based household surveys of representative samples of adults, compromising over 200,000 respondents, including 40,000 smokers and recent ex-smokers.

UCL’s Robert West, Emma Beard and Jamie Brown have produced the latest update. They believe: “It is important to track use of electronic cigarettes and assess how far they appear to be promoting or detracting from reduction in prevalence of cigarette smoking.”

The team state:

  • Use of e-cigarettes has remained stable since late 2013
  • E-cigarette use by never smokers remains negligible but use among long-term ex-smokers has grown
  • E-cigarette use in smokers and recent ex-smokers has plateaued
  • The majority of both e-cigarette and NRT ever users are ‘dual users’ (also smoke)
  • A smaller proportion of both e-cigarette and NRT daily users are ‘dual users’ (also smoke)
  • Frequency of use among users is greater in ex-smokers
  • The majority contain nicotine and later generation devices are more popular with ex-smokers
  • Ex-smokers use e-liquids with stronger concentrations of nicotine. A minority of smokers did not know the strength.
  • Specialist vape shops are most popular source for purchase
  • E-cigarette use is least popular with older smokers while NRT use is lower among younger smokers
  • There is no clear social gradient in use of e-cigarettes or NRT
  • E-cigarette use has plateaued among smokers
  • E-cigarette use among recent ex-smokers has declined from a peak in 2016
  • E-cigarette use for quitting has declined from a peak in 2016
  • The proportion of recent ex-smokers who started using an e-cigarette appears to be declining
  • Proportion of people aged 16-24 years who have ever smoked regularly has slowly declined
  • A declining minority of current smokers believe e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes or are unsure. An increasing proportion believe they are equally harmful

Project fear on the part of certain legislators, researchers and public health tobacco controllers continues to take its toll, and appears to be preventing smokers from being prepared to attempt switching to vaping.



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