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Icelandic Study Links Decrease in Smoking To Rising Vapor

Icelandic Study Links Decrease in Smoking To Rising Vapor


We've got some good news out of Iceland to share today. A new study originating in the island nation has shown that the use of vapor products is contributing to the country’s quickly-declining smoking rate. These reports reinforce what vapor advocates have been saying for years; vapor products can be a valuable cessation tool for smokers looking to quit cigarettes.  

This study, which was first reported by the Icelandic website RÚV, shows an overall positive trend in the country, although there still exist concerns around potential legislation that could cause future setbacks. Members of the Icelandic medical community worry that the government will propose laws intended to restrict access to vapor and that will negatively impact smokers looking to quit.

It’s important for the vapor community at large to be aware of positive aspects of vapor, including its potential as a cessation tool. This is why we continue sharing studies like this one, reaffirming a relationship between the use of vapor and quitting cigarettes.


In April, we reported that smoking combustible cigarettes has declined by forty percent in Iceland over the last three years. In 2014, the country said that 14 percent of the population smoked, but as of 2017 that number had dropped to 9 percent. Overall, the number of Icelandic smokers declined from 35,000 to 22,000 (it's a small nation).

Parallel to this report, figures published in the Directorate of Health’s newsletter found that daily use of e-cigarettes has increased by 1 percent since 2016, with 4 percent of people reporting last year that they use vapor products every day. The study also found that almost half, forty percent of people, that use vapor products also smoke regular cigarettes, although this number is on the decline.

The most encouraging number to come out of this study found that a little under half of those who vape have stopped smoking regular cigarettes, a rise of 10 percent since 2016. An Icelandic doctor declared these numbers incontrovertible proof that vapor products are part of the reason so many people quit smoking.

“There’s no other way to interpret these figures than that increasingly, people are quitting smoking and starting to vape,” offered Dr. Guðmundur Karl Snæbjörnsson.

The study also notes that people who have never smoked before but are now using vapor has risen from 7 percent to 12 percent since 2016, but Dr. Guðmundur argued that this doesn't paint an accurate picture.

“The original percentage is 4 percent and if we’re talking about 12 percent of 4 percent, which is the figure from 2017, that means the figure is actually .4 percent and it’s very misleading the way it’s presented in their report,” he argued.


This study was released as the Icelandic government begins to consider increased regulation on vapor products. In February, Minister of Health Óttarr Proppé announced that a bill is being drafted to compensate for the absence of regulatory framework around vapor products. It would also include vapor products as part of the prohibition of smoking in public places, banning the use of e-cigarettes in bars, restaurants, workplaces, and schools.

Dr. Guðmundur argued that there was no evidence to support these regulations, and has called vapor “a great blessing” for the country in its battle against combustible cigarettes.  

“There are so many limitations, and so many more than there ever have been on the cigarettes that we know are killing over half of the people who use them in the authorized way.”

With more positive studies about vapor as a positive way to quit combustible cigarettes, support around the world and in medical communities for vapor is growing. In relatively small countries like Iceland, studies offer good evidence for the benefits of vapor. It’s still unclear, however, how much it will influence the opinions of larger institutions in government.