Are UK smokers getting the message about vaping?

Are UK smokers getting the message about vaping?

As the number of UK vapers rises beyond 3 million, are we finally recognising that e-cigs are better for our health than smoking?


Last year we wrote a blog outlining a worrying statistic showing that a growing proportion of the UK public (smokers included) were failing to appreciate that vaping is a lot less harmful than smoking. Is public perception changing? In this article we take a look at the latest data.


Perception of harm

Between 2013 and 2017 the percentage of the UK population that wrongly believed e-cigs are equally harmful, or even more harmful, than smoking nearly quadrupled from 7% to 26%!

In 2018, the latest study from Action on Smoking Health (ASH) showed that the figure dropped by a percentage point to 25%. “Big deal!”, I hear you shout. That’s still a quarter of the public that hold inaccurate views. Well, there is good news!

In 2017, 43% of UK adults recognised that vaping is less harmful than smoking; in 2018, that figure rose to 50%. Today, half of the UK population understands the health benefits of e-cigarettes when compared to regular combustible tobacco. This is incredibly encouraging.


Now you know

So, what’s changed? If there’s no significant decline in the number of people that think vaping is ‘worse’, how has there been such an increase in the number who know it’s ‘better’.

The answer lies in the decline of people who’ve previously ticked the ‘don’t know’ box. In 2013, 39% weren’t sure how the harmfulness of vaping compared to smoking. In 2018 that number dropped significantly to 23%. An additional 16% of the adult population has formed an opinion about vaping.


Perception of harmlessness

The other key point to take from this new study is that, in 2013, 10% of the populace thought vaping was ‘completely harmless’. By 2018, this number had dropped to just 1%.

Vaping is NOT completely harmless; but neither is it more or equally harmful than smoking. All available research points to e-cigs being A LOT LESS harmful - around 95% less according to Public Health England. Studies such as these indicate that, in the UK, we are finally getting the correct message.


Challenging the negativity

A portion of the media still pushes its agenda to vilify vaping; and insurance providers still insist upon classifying vapers as smokers in the high-risk category. However, as time goes by, these negative portrayals are being counterbalanced by all of the positive research and data. At Vape UK, we hope that we are on track for the positive messages to far outweigh the negative so more smokers can make an informed decision that will help them quit for good.


We're here to help you quit smoking for good

At Vape UK, we pride ourselves on being responsible vaping advocates. We keep up to date with all of the latest news and studies; we only supply high quality TPD compliant vaping products; and we are always on hand to offer helpful and honest advice about vaping. Please get in touch if you have any queries on quitting smoking.

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  • Nicola Webster

About the author - Nicola Webster

Nicola Webster works as a researcher, consultant, and content creator for Vape UK and Vape UK CBD. She holds a CIM Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing and has developed her skills and knowledge of analytics and research over a 12 year career in product marketing. Her research led approach to campaigns and content writing ensures the articles she writes for Vape UK always have a basis in fact and cut through the noise. A strong advocate for tobacco harm reduction, Nicola is an ex-smoker thanks to vaping and wants others to understand the benefits of vaping compared to smoking. Outside of content creation and vaping advocacy, Nicola enjoys watching live music, travelling in Southeast Asia, and exploring the beautiful countryside of the South Downs.