More people are vaping than ever before in the UK and the numbers are continuing to grow.
A survey of more than 12,000 people by the charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) suggests an estimated 3.6 million people in the UK are currently vaping, up from 3.2 million in 2018.
That’s around half the number of people still smoking (7.2 million in 2018). Almost 100,000 people die each year in the UK as a result of smoking.
More than half (54%) of those now vaping are ex-smokers. Of those who have quit cigarettes for e-cigarettes 31% said it was to help them stop smoking, while 20% said it was to stop them relapsing, followed by the enjoyment of vaping (14%) and saving money (13%).
The survey also found that the number believing that vaping was less harmful than smoking was falling.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash, said: “Although e-cigarettes are now the most popular quitting aid, our survey finds that in 2019 over a third of smokers have still never tried vaping.
“As Stoptober kicks off, we’d encourage smokers who haven’t done so yet, to give vaping a try.
“E-cigarettes have been shown to be a very effective aid for smokers trying to quit, either on their own or with help from stop smoking services.”
She said US reports of illnesses linked to vaping were “obviously concerning, but it appears to be linked to the misuse of e-cigarettes for illicit drug delivery.
“Nothing like this has been seen in the UK to date, where a proper regulatory system is in place for nicotine containing e-cigarettes, which is not yet the case in the US.”
Regulators in the US are examining cases where people who have vaped have been found to have oil-like substances in their lungs.
Several deaths have also been reported while overall, more than 450 cases of a lung disease linked to vaping are being investigated.
Walmart has also said it will stop selling e-cigarettes at its stores.