Survey Finds Rise in E-Cigarette Users

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29th May 2014 11:58 - Health

Findings published by the anti-tobacco charity Ash (Action on Smoking and Health) show that the number of e-cigarette users has tripled over the past two years to 2.1 million. Of those now estimated to be using electronic cigarettes, around 700,000 are thought to be ex-smokers and 1.3 million to be using them alongside normal cigarettes or tobacco. Just 1% of those asked who never smoked said they had tried electronic cigarettes.

The main reason given by ex-smokers for using electronic cigarettes were ‘to help me stop smoking entirely’ (71%) and ‘to help me keep off tobacco’ (48%).

And the biggest reason for current smokers was to ‘help me reduce the amount of tobacco I smoke, but not stop completely’ (48%) followed by ‘to save money compared with smoking tobacco’ (37%) and to ‘help me stop smoking entirely’ (36%).

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash said:

“The dramatic rise in use of electronic cigarettes over the past four years suggests that smokers are increasingly turning to these devices to help them cut down or quit smoking. Significantly, usage among non-smokers remains negligible.”

A separate YouGov survey shows that, in 2010, just 8.2% of ex-smokers said that they have tried electronic cigarettes, compared with half (51.7%) in 2012.

Professor Robert West, Leader of a study from University College London, said:

"Despite claims that use of electronic cigarettes risks renormalizing smoking, we found no evidence to support this view. On the contrary, electronic cigarettes may be helping to reduce smoking as more people use them as an aid to quitting."

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