VAPING debate is heating up again. While the World Health Organisation has just released a statement pouring cold water on the use of vape in helping to reduce tobacco consumption, evidence in the United Kingdom (UK) continues to show that it is very effective in helping smokers to quit traditional cigarettes.
A recently published survey by a tobacco control advocate in the UK, has found nearly two-thirds (64.6%) of its vaping population comprising adults are ex-smokers who have quit smoking with vape, with the proportion growing year-on-year. This figure translates to approximately 2.4 million vapers who are ex-smokers.
In addition, the proportion of never smokers remain low at 4.9% or approximately 200,000 adults.
According to the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), there are 3.6 million vapers in the UK in 2021 which is approximately 7.1% of its total population.
Based on the survey, most of the current e-cigarette users who are ex-smokers say they vape to help them quit (36%) and to keep them off tobacco (20%), strengthening the claim that that vaping is helping smokers to quit traditional cigarettes.
According to UK’s Annual Population Survey, smoking prevalence among adults aged 18 and over in England has declined significantly. In 2011, 19.8% of adults smoked, falling to 13.9% in 2019, equivalent to a drop from 7.7 million smokers in 2011 to 5.7 million in 2019.
In fact, reports over the years by Public Health England (PHE) found that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking conventional cigarettes and was helping 20,000 people quit a year. PHE also claim that that e-cigarettes are the most popular aid used in quit attempts for smokers in UK.
In 2020, 27.2% of people used a vaping product in a quit attempt in the previous 12 months, compared with 15.5% who used nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
It also said that concern about e-cigarette use as a gateway to smoking among young people wasn’t supported by evidence in the UK, where regular vaping among young people who’ve never smoked is less than 1%.
In addition, evidence from a randomised controlled trial found that vaping was nearly twice as effective as NRT in helping smokers quit in a Stop Smoking Service setting in England, and a systematic review of the evidence has concluded that there is moderate-certainty evidence that e-cigarettes with nicotine increase quit rates compared to e-cigarettes without nicotine and compared to NRT.
In Malaysia, a survey commissioned by Malaysian Vape Industry Advocacy (MVIA) found that 88% of Malaysian vapers who used to smoke cigarettes have successfully quit smoking with the aid of vape.
The same poll also found that 79%, who currently vape and also smoke traditional cigarettes at the same time, have reduced smoking since taking up vape.
Clearly, the role of vaping in helping smokers to quit traditional cigarettes for good cannot be ignored.