Previous studies carried out estimated that there were between 900,000 to 1.3million vapers (electronic cigarette users) within the UK. The striking lead finding from ASHâ€™s most recent survey is that there are now 2.1million vapers within the UK.
This figure is broken down into 700,000 ex-smokers who now only use electronic devices in place of cigarettes and 1.3million vapers who use vaping devices in addition to their smoking habits.
ASH contrasts the number of smokers who have tried an electronic cigarette. They state that in 2010 only 8.2% had tried one while this figure has now exploded to almost 58%. Of these smokers they note a rise from almost 3% regularly vaping had increased to almost 18% by this year.
They discovered that the figure for the non-smoking general public who knew about electronic cigarettes and vaping now stands at 90% of the population and of those almost two fifths agreed that vaping was a good thing for public health while only one fifth disagreed.
While debate still appears to focus in the media on the topic of vaping being a gateway into smoking ASH report that around 1% of non-smokers had ever tried an electronic cigarette and next to none of them continued to do so â€“ destroying any gateway argument and supporting the findings from 2013.
For the second year running they found that the main reasons for vaping were to use as a tool to stop smoking, to remain from smoking and, for people who dual-fuel (vape and smoke), to cut down on the number of cigarettes smoked.
This turns the gateway argument on its head and amply demonstrates that vaping is not a gateway into smoking cigarettes but a gateway out of smoking cigarettes.
Despite all the arguments that banning and controlling when and where vaping can take place (because it looks like smoking a cigarette), ASH released findings demonstrating that this is far from the case. It stated that only 8% of people who vape use cigalikes (electronic cigarettes that look like cigarettes); these are also known as 1st generation devices.
Of the rest, half vape using second generation devices (a small Ego-type battery and a small tank like an Evod). The other half use 3rd generation devices such as mechanical mods and variable voltage/wattage devices along with genisis or silica tanks and drippers.
The third generation devices were most popular with ex-smokers and so there is a clear progression away from smoking through the three generations of electronic cigarettes.
Repeating the findings of 2013, ASH found that knowledge and understanding of electronic cigarettes was high among children and teenagers. They also demonstrated for the second year running that vaping in children and teens was restricted to a statistically insignificant number â€“ and those who did either dual-fuelled because they were smokers or were ex-smokers. Again, this adds huge weight to the argument that vaping is a gateway out of smoking and not into it.
The report was released on the same day that ASH USA made the following statement: â€œWhile the FDA proposal is an important step, ASH is disappointed that the proposal does not include the regulation of the marketing of e-cigarettes nor the banning of flavors, such as bubble gum, that specifically target young people. Even if electronic cigarettes prove to be an effective tool for adults who are trying to quit, they should not be marketed to children.â€
The disconnect between the two positions, one founded in research and the other not, could not be more contrasting. All of ASH UKâ€™s evidence points to the fact that neither are electronic cigarettes marketed to young people nor are young people adopting electronic cigarettes. While ASH USA provide a caveat of â€œifâ€ ecigs are effective quitting agents, ASH UKâ€™s research amply demonstrates they are working year on year.
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