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UK: Vaping helps about 70,000 smokers a year quit


Numerous pieces of research into the efficacy of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid have been conducted in the past year. Another positive study has now been released which shows that vaping helps more than 50,000 people a year quit smoking.

Vaping helps up to 70,000 smokers quit, each year

The study was conducted by researchers at University College London (UCL) and led by Dr Emma Beard. it was funded by Cancer Research UK and published in the journal Addiction.The researchers assessed data on 50,598 smokers between 2006 and 2017. The concluding result showed that in 2017, vaping helped between 50,700 and 69,930 smokers quit, who would probably still be smoking if it wasn’t for the help of an e-cigarette. 

The researchers came to this conclusion by taking into consideration important criteria relating to previous quit attempts. This included the association between current use of e-cigarettes and use of e-cigarettes during a quit attempt with quit attempts, overall quit rate, quit success rate and average cigarette consumption.

The researchers also took various external factors into consideration, including cost of tobacco cigarettes and seasonality.This milestone study is great news for the vaping industry as it confirms the effectiveness of e-cigarettes within the group of more stubborn smokers who have previously failed to quit using alternative quitting methods.Lead author Dr Emma Beard said,“This study builds on population surveys and clinical trials that find e-cigarettes can help smokers to stop. England seems to have found a sensible balance between regulation and promotion of e-cigarettes. Marketing is tightly controlled so we are seeing very little use of e-cigarettes by never-smokers of any age while millions of smokers are using them to try to stop smoking or to cut down the amount they smoke.”

Has vaping helped more smokers than this?

In January 2019, research revealed that e-cigarettes are almost twice as effective as NRTs at helping smokers quit. This research was led by health expert Professor Peter Hajek and was one of the first landmark studies to assess how effective e-cigarettes are at helping smokers quit.

More recent research by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) shows that there are 1.95 million current vapers who have now quit smoking. A further 2.2 million ex-smokers are also ex-vapers. Many of these ex-smokers and ex-vapers we expect to have quit smoking with an e-cig and gone on to quit vaping.With more than four million ex-vapers or current vapers now being ex-smokers, the estimate from the UCL study seems conservative. Whilst we do recognise that the study uses a time-series analysis to assess various factors, even the higher estimate of 70,000 smokers each year does seem low.

The ASH statistics suggest that when averaged out over the past 11 years, the number of people who have quit smoking with the help of an e-cigarette each year could surpass 350,000.Totally Wicked welcomes research into the vaping from reliable sources. We would like to thank University College London and Cancer Research UK for the study.