The report, commissioned by ASH and conducted by YouGov, estimates there are now 2.9 million vapers in the UK, 52 percent (1.5 million) of whom have successfully quit tobacco.
“These findings are a very welcome addition to the growing body of evidence that supports the legitimacy and efficacy of vaping products in the context of global harm reduction,” said Marc Michelsen, Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs and Communications, Fontem Ventures. “Importantly, this new survey proves that e-cigarettes are effective in changing smoker behaviour and that increasing numbers of vapers are managing to transition away from tobacco altogether.”
The report, however, also reveals an alarming increase in the number of adults who wrongly believe e-cigarettes are ‘as harmful’ or ‘more harmful’ than smoking: a figure which is now at an all-time high, nearly quadrupling from 7 percent in 2013 to 26 percent in 2017. On the other hand, the number of adults who believe vaping is ‘a lot less harmful’ than tobacco has dropped to just 13 percent.
“The fact that more and more people are beginning to think that vaping is either as bad or worse than tobacco is a deeply worrying trend,” said Michelsen. “It directly conflicts with the conclusions and advice from numerous public health and tobacco-control groups in the UK who have worked hard to ensure smokers understand the ‘less harmful’ message.
“While it’s fantastic that increasing numbers of vapers are using e-cigarettes to completely cease smoking, the decline in consumer confidence and the steep rise in negative perceptions threaten to undermine the public health potential of e-cigarettes, as smokers become increasingly confused about the devices. In fact, the findings of this survey suggest an urgent need for a more comprehensive and concerted education campaign aimed at the remaining nine million UK smokers who continue to use tobacco when a much less harmful alternative exists.”