Users of Electronic Cigarettes in UK have tripled to 2 million since 2010
A recent survey carried out on over 12,000 people by anti-tobacco charity Ash found that almost all current users of e-cigarettes in the UK are current smokers or ex-smokers and that they are using the devices to try and kick their tobacco habit. In 2010 the survey found that just 2.7% of smokers stated that they used regularly used electronic cigarettes, but now that has reached an incredible 17.7%. Over two 2 million people are now thought to use electronic cigarettes in the UK, but nearly all of them are current smokers or ex-smokers using the devices to cut down on or quit tobacco cigarettes. Virtually no one who uses e-cigs is a non smoker.
Concerns that e-cigarettes in the UK are doing more harm than goodThere had been concerns about non smokers using the electronic cigarettes and the Advertising Standards Authority has been looking at concerns, particularly among the public health doctors that marketing can encourage non-smokers, children in particular to start using them, and that they will eventually move on to ordinary cigarettes.
However, Ash's survey suggests that this is simply not happening and that people are predominantly using e-cigarettes to stop their smoking tobacco cigarette habit instead.
Ash's chief executive said that the huge increase in the use of electronic cigarettes over the past four years is a strong indication that smokers are turning to these devices to help them reduce or quit smoking. So whilst it is important to control the advertising of anything, including electronic cigarettes, to ensure children and non-smokers are not being deliberately targeted, there is nothing to suggest that e-cigarettes are acting as a way into smoking.
The people who use electronic cigarettes have stated that the main reason they used them was to help them stop smoking entirely and to help keep them off tobacco cigarettes. Other reasons included that they wanted to use the to help cut down but not quit regular cigarettes without intending to quit and also to save money as electronic cigarettes are so much cheaper than packets of cigarettes.
People are using e-cigarettes to quit, not as a lead to start smoking Tobacco
A similar study from the University College in London earlier this year found similar results. Furthermore, the smoking toolkit study carried found that electronic cigarettes were over taking nicotine gum and patches as a tool to giving up smoking.
In summary, many surveys and studies from respected companies have found that people are using electronic cigarettes in the UK to help them cut down on tobacco cigarettes, stop smoking them completely and as a supplement to cigarette use. Studies have found that non smokers do not start smoking e-cigs and that they do not lead non smokers to start smoking. There is also no evidence that children are using e-cigs as a way into smoking either and as long as the marketing is carefully monitored then this should not change. So despite concerns, there is nothing to suggest that people are being lead into smoking by electronic cigarettes but that they are a very important tool to quitting smoking.