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UK: Smoking Declines as Vapor Remains Consistent

UK: Smoking Declines as Vapor Remains Consistent  



Over the last eight years, smoking has been in sharp decline in the United Kingdom and some are pointing to vapor as one of the leading causes. Some of those voices were heard in the United States in a recent meeting of leading medical experts at the E-Cigarette Summit at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.  In the U.K., Public Health England has been one of the most influential government agencies. They have led the way for pro-vaping policies that have changed how cigarettes and vapor have been viewed in the public sphere.

The meeting at Georgetown saw praise given to the PHE for their vapor advocacy at the highest levels of government and encouraged smokers to quit conventional cigarettes by picking up vapor products instead. They advocated, along with the National Health Services, for local initiatives across the country. A PHE report published in 2018 said there were no circumstances where it would be beneficial to carry on smoking instead of using e-cigarettes.

With cigarette use on the decline in the U.K., the tobacco industry has tried ways to keep up and appeal to a new vapor-friendly audience. Big Tobacco behemoth Philip Morris is going so far as to launch an initiative to go “smoke-free”  in the United Kingdom. So far, it’s been a rough transition, and while tobacco use has declined overall, vapor companies have remained consistent.

Declining Tobacco Use

Between 2007 and 2017, the overall prevalence of smoking amongst adults has dropped from 33 percent to 17 percent. These numbers have encouraged some leading vapor advocates and business owners in the country to plan for an even greater reduction ins smoking by 2022.

“The fastest decline in tobacco use in the UK took place shortly after e-cigarettes came onto the market,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health UK (ASH). “Our tobacco control plan aims to have a smoke-free generation by 2022, reducing adult smoking from 15.5 percent to 12 percent, and in young people from 8 percent to just 3 percent."

This is less ambitious but similar to a plan by New Zealand, another pro-vapor country whose government proposed that the country be entirely smoke-free by 2025. While this plan has been a vanguard for progressive vapor countries around the globe, it has also hit snags along the way as they’ve had difficulty convincing older and poorer smokers to switch from the familiar cigarettes to new technology like vapor. But they’re trying.

Consistent Vapor

Arnott pointed out that despite a decline in smoking, vapor product use has remained consistent since 2013 and asked governments to take into consideration the entire effects of smoking before declining or making endorsements with regard to tobacco and vapor policy.

E-cigarette use has remained stable in the UK since 2013, and e-cigarette use by non-smokers remains very low,” she said. “There needs to be a comprehensive strategy towards smoking as a whole before authorities can consider the endorsement of e-cigarettes.”

They also point out that while these numbers are good for vapor, only 60 percent of people in the UK that have smoked have tried vapor, leaving a lot of room for growth, and that means there’s still a lot of other smokers out there who can use vapor to quit.