More Folks Quit Smoking Than Ever Before – Is it Down to Vaping?
The number of Smokers in the UK has dropped significantly once again with young people leading the way.
In a nutshell Smoking levels in the UK remain at the lowest levels since 1974 – probably about the time I had my first fag!
The Office for National Statistics says the drop equates to a massive 4% but that still means over 7million people still smoke in the UK.
The report states:
In 2016, the proportion of current smokers in the UK was 15.8%, which equates to around 7.6 million in the population, a statistically significant decline of more than 4 percentage points since 2010.
Whilst Vaping can’t be singled out as the main reason for the drop in smoking numbers – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that e-cigarettes must surely have made an impact – despite recent legislation.
Indeed as we’ll see later the findings reflect the growth in e-cigarette use as a possible contributory factor to the results.
Vaping NOT as Addictive as Smoking
The news comes after a study showed that vaping is not as addictive as most people think – unless of course you count the addiction to buying all those new shiny mods and tanks!
That report and for once widely reported in the media – came from Penn State College of Medicine where researchers tested 3,586 vapers and concluded:
- Vapers wait longer when waking up before vaping
- Vapers are less likely to consider themselves as addicts
- Vapers find it pretty easy to not vape where it isn’t allowed and without the cravings
Head of the research Professor Liu said:
No doubt about it, e-cigarettes are addictive, but not at the same level as traditional cigarettes.
Smoking Levels at Lowest for 40 Years
However it’s the results from the ONS were most interested in with the largest decline in smokers coming in the 18 to 24 year-old category.
The ONS report states:
In 2016, it was found that those aged 18 to 24 experienced the largest decline in smoking prevalence of around 6 percentage points since 2010, however, still remained the second most likely age group to smoke at 19.3%
That has to be welcomed however the stats suggest that it is this young age group that is most likely to begin smoking is worrying.
Maybe if a more positive spin [and less legislation and restrictions] was put on vaping that might change – but hey what do I know!
Despite that – smoking levels among people in the UK is at its lowest level since 1974 with the report stating:
Since 1974, the number of cigarettes smoked each day on average among current smokers has been declining.
Although the average daily cigarette consumption for men in Great Britain increased slightly in 2016 to 12.0, this increase was not statistically significant.
For women, the average consumption in 2016 was similar to that observed in 2015 at 11.0.
The results were gathered from the Annual Population Survey as well as the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey which is done face to face and covers around 320,000 households per year.
Those sampled were asked two simple questions:
- Have you ever smoked cigarettes regularly? (yes or no)
- And do you smoke cigarettes at all nowadays? (yes or no)
The UK Government had set a 15.8% target of UK none smokers by 2015 which has now been met.
Meanwhile in Wales the target is 16% by 2020 – Northern Ireland its 15% whilst Scotland wants to see a mere 5% drop by 2034 – surely that’s reachable lol.
Use of E-Cigarettes in the UK
The survey throws up some fascinating results around the UK’s vapers and vaping habits showing there’s now close to 3million of us and growing.
By far the most avid vapers are the 16 to 24 and 24 to 34 age range with men more likely to vape than women.
The largest increase in those coming to vaping is in the 16 to 24 year old bracket however and given this is my category – go old guys lol – the next rise comes in the 50 to 59 group.
The survey shows that quitting smoking is the main reason people turn to e-cigs and vaping and despite all the endless streams of negative media – most believed vaping was considerably safer than smoking.
However it’s not all good news and it seems that the recent wave of junk science and media horror stories centred around vaping is having some impact on smokers perceptions.
The report found that:
The most negative view of e-cigarettes were held by smokers who have never used one previously.
Specifically, 60.8% of smokers who had never used an e-cigarette felt that e-cigarettes were less harmful than cigarettes; this proportion is around 14 percentage points lower than the 75.1% of smokers who have ever used an e-cigarette (that is, current and past use).
Interestingly, dual users of cigarettes and e-cigarettes had more accurate perceptions. In 2016, of dual users, 91.1% reported that e-cigarettes were less harmful than cigarettes, something which was also found when looking at 2015 data.
Let’s see how the mainstream media ‘spins’ these positive results
Key Points of the Findings
- In 2016, of all adult survey respondents in the UK, 15.8% smoked which equates to around 7.6 million in the population.
- Of the constituent countries, 15.5% of adults in England smoked; for Wales, this figure was 16.9%; Scotland, 17.7% and Northern Ireland, 18.1%.
- In the UK, 17.7% of men were current smokers which was significantly higher in comparison with 14.1% of women.
- Those aged 18 to 24 in the UK experienced the largest decline in smoking prevalence of 6.5 percentage points since 2010.
- Among current smokers in Great Britain, men smoked 12.0 cigarettes each day on average whereas women smoked 11.0 cigarettes each day on average; these are some of the lowest levels observed since 1974.
- In Great Britain, 5.6% of respondents in 2016 stated they currently used an e-cigarette in 2016, which equates to approximately 2.9 million people in the population.
You can read the full report HERE
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