Vaping News

PHE Report: Business Responds

The backing of PHE comes at a time when the vape industry on the High Street is picking itself up following the impact of COVID-19, and the ASH survey demonstrates it’s been operating responsibly

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Public Health England (PHE) showed the proportion of vapers who also smoke is in permanent decline as they switch to just vaping or quit entirely. It’s made vaping the Number 1 route out of smoking in England yet smokers’ misconceptions about the relative risks of vaping persist and it’s getting worse. ASH’s survey demonstrates that the industry is behaving responsibly, not marketing to teens – and that teens aren’t interested in flavours or packaging anyway.

The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) welcomed the latest review of the evidence on vaping, commissioned by PHE and carried out by researchers at King’s College London.

Compared to a previous review published in 2018,” the IBVTA said, “there is stronger evidence in this year’s report that nicotine vaping products are effective for smoking cessation and reduction. The extensive use of vaping products in quit attempts in comparison with licensed medication suggests vaping products may reach more people who smoke and so have more impact than NRT and varenicline.”

The IBVTA did express concern over the ASH survey of tobacco control leads that finds only 11% of regional Quit Smoking services offered vape kits to some or all smokers.

It said: “The IBVTA therefore welcome the report’s recommendation that further research is needed into the barriers and enablers to using vaping products as part of a supported quit attempt in stop smoking services. It is also welcomed that the report’s authors recommend that ‘new and flexible ways of conducting observational studies and RCTs are needed to allow for user experimentation (for example trial and error of different types of vaping products, allowing for changes in preferences over time)’.”

The IBVTA Chief Executive Gillian Golden, said: ‘’Once again, we have an independent evidence review which highlights that vaping is safer then smoking and can help those who smoke to quit. It is now incumbent on smoking cessation and public health stakeholders to get that message to smokers. We welcome the Government’s review of current regulations which could empower even more smokers to quit with vaping.

“With figures suggesting that the sales of cigarettes have risen during lockdown, our members greatly look forward to being able to reopen their stores and providing the service they are experts in – offering smokers a real and proven effective way out of smoking.’’

The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) called the 250-page document a “defining moment” for the vaping industry.

UKVIA said: “The annual review reinforces vaping’s hugely effective role in smoking-cessation, as well as the low rate of use among underage ‘never-smokers’. As vaping enters one of the most pivotal periods in the industry’s history with the forthcoming review of the Tobacco & Related Products Regulations following Brexit, the report shows great successes in harm-reduction and smoking cessation linked to vaping products.”

PHE’s report found that in every region of the country, quit rates among adult smokers were found to be higher with the use of vaping than other products, ranging from 49% success in the South West to 78% in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The trade body continued: “PHE state that NRT use among long-term former smokers is declining, while the use of vaping products increases. Flavours remain an important driver for those using vaping products, with 31.6% of vapers reporting fruit flavours to be their preference.”

Importantly, UKVIA adds, is that uptake among ‘never-smoker’ youth remains very low, between 0.8% and 1.3%., with PHE confirming that this rate has not increased in recent years.

John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA, applauded the industry for what it has achieved following the publication of the review: “This a defining moment for the vaping sector and truly shows the considerable progress it has made against a backdrop of significant misinformation around the industry, with Public Health England once again stating that perceptions of the harm caused by vaping compared with smoking are increasingly out of line with the evidence.

“This latest data, which the review is based upon, provides incontrovertible evidence as to the importance of vaping to successful smoking cessation and the nation’s public health.”

He added: “Despite the many positives in this report a great deal remains to be done. Action on Smoking and Health, for example, has found that just 11% of local authority stop smoking services are offering vaping products to some or all of those trying to quit smoking. With the clear efficacy of vaping evidenced in this report, we must ensure this figure grow.

As an industry we also share PHE’s views on stronger enforcement in preventing underage sales. In our response to the Government’s TRPR consultation, which we will be publishing shortly, we call for fully funded regional and national test purchasing schemes to better understand compliance and to help educate retailers on their legal requirements. The UKVIA has already published the first ever Preventing Underage Sales Guide for vape shops and online retailers which has been supported by Trading Standards.

Dunne continued: “The review’s finding that more than 50% of people believe vaping to be as harmful or more harmful than the use of combustible cigarettes, means we need to keep educating smokers about the fact that vaping is a fraction of the harm of smoking, has literally changed the lives of former smokers for the better and is acknowledged as one of the best ways to quit conventional cigarettes.


  1. Vaping in England: evidence update February 2021 –
  2. The Independent British Vape Trade Association -
  3. The UK Vaping Industry Association -
  4. Use of e-cigarettes among young people in Great Britain -
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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