ASH’s 2022 survey on Adult E-Cig users

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The number of adult users of E-Cigarettes in the UK is currently at the highest it’s ever been. More people today are now opting to quit smoking and start vaping, which is great news for the vaping industry, as well as for those people making the switch as they are enriching their lives by making this choice.

In this article, I’m going to look at a recent report released about the number of adult smokers in the UK, and why so many people are now opting to vape rather than smoke.

Action on Smoking and Health’s 2022 survey

Action on Smoking and Health are a public health charity, with the group being formed by a team of experts from the Royal College of Physicians. Every year since 2012 they have carried out various surveys looking into the behaviours of adults in the UK around the subject of Vaping, as well as surveys on other topics such as vaping amongst young adults, as well as youths.

Earlier this year, ASH carried out a survey on over 10,000 adults in the UK to gauge their knowledge of E-Cigarettes and vaping, their views on the potential risks of vaping, their views and attitudes towards vaping, and whether or not they are users of E-Cigarettes.

The results make for some interesting reading of which I will go through in individual sections in detail below:

The number of adult users of E-Cigarettes has increased

In this year’s survey results, it showed that the number of adults using E-Cigarettes had risen from the previous year’s survey results and is the highest number that’s been recorded since ASH started conducting the surveys.

The number sits at 4.3 million current users which equates to 8.3% of the adult population, just fantastic to see this number! The number of current adult users has progressed in volume year on year, minus 2020 which saw a slight dip in numbers possibly related to the pandemic but this hasn’t been proven so is mere speculation on my part.

57% of current vapers are ex-smokers, a number that has seen a slight decrease from the year previous where it was reported to be 64% so it shows that a lot of people are converting from cigarettes to vaping which again is a positive.

man vaping

Why do people vape?

ASH delved into the topic as to why people choose to use e-cigarettes, and again the results are interesting. They asked ex-smokers as well as current smokers who dual use (people who both vape and smoke)

The most popular answer from the group of ex-smokers that were surveyed was vaping help them quit smoking, with 29% total giving this answer. 19% said it prevents them from relapsing and going back to smoking. 14% said that they simply enjoy vaping and 11% said it saves them money compared to the cost of smoking.

Moving on to the group of current smokers who also vape, the most popular answer to why do they vape was to stop smoking more which made up 17% of those asked. 16% said to save money and 14% said to try and help them quit smoking. I find it interesting that a higher percentage leaned more towards the money saving aspect rather than helping them quit smoking.  

An interesting take on answers between the two groups asked. It’s good to see a high rate of people admitting they vape to help them quit smoking, and then continue to do so. Whereas in the current smokers group, the numbers aren’t as high but still people realise the fact they vape is to cut down or try and help them quit smoking.

Behaviours, attitude and views on Vaping by current users of e-cigarette users

People who were surveyed were asked questions relating to the nicotine strength they use in their e-liquid. Around 50% of those surveyed admitted they still use the same nicotine strength e-liquid as they did when they first started vaping, with 38% saying they had decreased the strength and 12% admitted they are now using a stronger nicotine content when they first started.

The amount that decreased their is a positive high number, as the ideal scenario when people start vaping is to gradually ween themselves off nicotine by decreasing the nicotine content of their e-liquid. Some people do not do this and stay on the same level, and others as it shows, up their nicotine level.

The reason for the increase of nicotine strength in people e-liquids could be the introduction of Nicotine salts, which are commonly sold at a 20mg nicotine strength. The way in which nicotine salts are made involves balancing the pH levels out to make the nicotine smoother on the throat when it’s being vaped, which is why a 20mg Nicotine salt vape juice is considerably smoother than if you were to vape an 18mg freebase nicotine vape juice. Nicotine salts have gained a lot of popularity in recent times, with a lot more people opting to use them as their preferred e-liquid.

Continuing in the survey, people were then asked whether they strongly agreed, agreed, strongly disagreed or disagreed to a series of statements.

The highest percentage of people strongly agreed that “Health is the number one reason for taking up using e-cigarettes” with 60% strongly agree/agree with just 14% saying the opposite. This is really good to see that people are realising the serious health risks involved with smoking and opting to turn to e-cigarettes to improve their health and quit smoking. The approval of GPs, Stop smoking services as well as Public Health England is obviously playing a part on why people are firmly starting to believe vaping can improve their health. 51% of the group also agreed that vaping had improved their quality of life since quitting smoking. When a person stops smoking, the effects that smoking has had on their body will start to naturally disappear. The tar that resides in the base of the lungs, as well as the respiratory tracts will breakdown and disperse, and airways and arteries will begin to become clearer, meaning breathing will be a lot easier and a lot of ex-smokers report that they can take part in more physical exercise than they previously could.

Conclusion

Overall, this survey was a fascinating read to get an insight into the views and attitudes on vaping amongst adults in the UK.

Vaping is continuing to gain strength and traction amongst the public and receiving positive press and backing from governing bodies like Public Health England only helps things along for the future of vaping, and the harm of tobacco being slowly dwindled down with more people choosing to vape, knowing that smoking is harmful for their health and they want to enrich their lives.