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Smoking and Vaping Trends: A Statistical Analysis

by Shaker naseem 02 Apr 2024

Although the exact transition rate from smoking to vaping has not been measured, surveys and public interviews reveal a lot of information on this topic. The 2023 ASH report has highlighted some interesting data on the UK population, shared below:

  • 20.5% of the children have tried smoking, which is a 15.8% increase from 2022.
  • 11.6% of people tried smoking the first time.
  • 69% of the vapers said they use disposable vapes, while 52% had that view in 2022. This shares clear insights into the increasing popularity of vapes in the UK.
  • The percentage of vapers is 7.6% compared to smokers at 3.7% as of 2023. 

Another report by Fontem Ventures, published in the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, states:

  • In a 90-day study, 37% of 72 smokers trying vapes to quit cigarettes switched completely.
  • The cigarette reduction rate was observed to reduce from 14.38 to an average of 3.19 per day. 

A research paper published in the Tobacco Control Journal revealed that 14.3% of cigarette smokers shifted to vaping in a span of one year.

The Archives of Public Health published a research article on vaping trends worldwide that further details the growing trend. 

  • The current prevalence of vaping among people who had always smoked traditional cigarettes was found to be 39%. 
  • Continent-wise, America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania showed lifetime vaping prevalence of 24%, 26%, 16%, and 25%, respectively. 
  • Similarly, the current vaping prevalence is 10%, 14%, 11%, and 6%, respectively. 

Public Health Statements:

Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson from the UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Healthcare says: 

“This misperception is a health risk in and of itself, as it may discourage smokers from substantially reducing their harm by switching to e-cigarettes. It may also encourage some young people who use e-cigarettes to take up smoking for the first time if they believe the harms are comparable. Better communication about the health risks is needed so that adults who smoke can make informed choices about the nicotine products they use.”

Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, a professor of paediatrics in Stanford Medicine’s Division of Adolescent Medicine, commented: 

“In the UK, the culture is that this is a replacement and not an initiation product.” 

The director of health improvement at Public Health England, John Newton, shared some insightful remarks:

“PHE’s advice remains that e-cigarettes are a fraction of the risk of smoking, and using one makes it much more likely you’ll quit successfully than relying on willpower alone.”

In an interview with BBC, Dr McKean said:

 "Vaping is not for children and young people. In fact, it could be very bad for you. Vaping is only a tool for adults who are addicted to cigarettes".

Summing Up!

Conclusively, it is apparent that although vapes might be less harmful, they are still the most advanced alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. Thousands of other complications in smoking follow the health risks associated with nicotine, whereas vapes strive to stick to nicotine only and avoid unnecessary health concerns. 

The initial thought process behind vapes was to allow users to consume their desired nicotine strength. This was believed to allow users to reduce their nicotine intake over time and gradually quit the habit completely. Several people have successfully managed to overcome nicotine addiction, while thousands are still in the process.

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