The recent Vaping in England report released by the UK Government earlier this month (March 2020) was a great boost for the UK vaping industry and for UK vapers. It was the sixth report so far commissioned by Public Health England to look at evidence that can help the Government achieve positive policies and legislation. Its focus was to look at the prevalence of vaping in young people and adults. All in all, it was a pretty positive report for the industry, devoid of the hysteria and junk studies that bombard vapers on a daily basis, and unfortunately scare smokers into carrying on with their deadly habit. The Vaping in England study looked at facts and real statistics which showed some interesting insights in the actual vaping experience with young people and adults.
UK illnesses & Deaths Caused By Vaping
One of the areas the report investigated was the current statistics related to illnesses and deaths in the UK that had been directly related to vaping. The evidence showed the result was nil (zero) in the UK. They did find there were 4 reports of deaths sent to the MHRA that had been suspected to be connected with vaping – but no evidence/connection was found. As a vaper and someone that works in the vape industry in the UK really pleased about this aspect of the report. The UK operates strict guidelines around the manufacture and supply of e cigarette products and as a result we have a one of the world’s best safety records in this area. As with product supply industries we cannot prevent individuals who are willing to risk their health via buying non-licensed products or illicit products online or off the black market.
“The spate of lung injuries and deaths in the US is not attributable to the regulated nicotine vaping products currently sold in England.”
Public Health England
Vaping & Young People
Another area of the Vaping England report that was positive was specifically related to children and young people. One of the many arguments for banning vape products comes from the speculation that vaping would be a gateway for children and young people into smoking tobacco. I have to say the people that speculate this claim are definitely not vapers. There is no way you would throw out that awesome flavour and sub ohm vape experience for the dead rotten wood taste and limited inhale experience of a fag, however I digress. The report showed that the amount of young people aged between 11-15 years did not grow over the year 2018-2019 (6%) but in fact dropped by 1% to 5%. This is a lot less related to the number of 11-15 year old’s who have drunk alcohol in England which is (according to DrinkAware) 44%. The amount of the same age group who smoke tobacco cigarettes has reduced from 11% in 2009 to 5% in 2018.
While it would be best if the stats were zero the report of vaping in young people is a positive one, in so far as the stats show a small decrease in the amount of young people vaping as opposed the massive increase the negative media reports speculated would happen. We are never going to be able to stop some kids from doing things they should not do such as drinking, smoking or vaping. The fact that the numbers show a ‘small percentage’, and one which has dropped between 2018-2019, is a really good sign that the UK vaping industry is performing adhering to guidelines and performing on an ethical basis. Most of the children who had vaped said they were given a vape device by friends with only a small few that state they bought from a shop. I did find this last bit distasteful to know that some vendors are putting the pound-note above health and care of young people. It’s these types of vendors that give the industry a bad name. If you can’t rove your over 18yrs old you won’t get served in The Vape Shop.
“Current vaping is mainly concentrated in young people who have experience of smoking.”
Public Health England
Less Than 1% Of Vapers Are Non Smokers
One of the biggest eye openers in the report for me was the finding that LESS than 1% of people who vape have never smoked. This means a few things, one that over 99.9% of people that take up vaping are either smokers who want to quit or ex-smokers looking to not start smoking again. It also means that the UK vape industry is being responsible in its sale of vaping products to smokers and not enticing non-smokers to use vape products just to make a quick buck. I actually felt proud of our industry when I read this as it flies in the face of a lot of the negative doomsayers that portray our industry as some kind of scam run by unethical bottom feeders killing people while stealing their money. At The Vape Shop we have always maintained a strong ethical stance on sale of vape products. We simply don’t sell products to people that don’t or have not smoked, no matter how old they are. I personally have refused to sell vape devices to adults well within their 30’s who just wanted to try vaping but had never smoked a few times. I have to say that most of them took it well a bit astonished that we would not sell our products to them.
What the above figures from the report show is that vaping is targeted solely at smokers who have a desire to quit or ex-smokers who are tempted to start smoking again. The fear of vaping being a gateway into smoking tobacco cigarettes is a false one and should be firmly put to bed while not detracting from the strong regulation and policies required by any NRT product. The fact that we as an industry are targeting, and very successfully, those who need it, and not those who don’t, shows the high standards most vape businesses in the UK apply to their operation.
What I did find sad to see in the report was that the false negative media coverage and dodgy bad health claims has had an impact on smokers who have not tried vaping. The report found that the percentage of smokers (who had not tried vaping) that believed vaping was harmful or worse than smoking increased by 10% between 2014 and 2019. This is a direct result of false scaremongering in the media. Public Health England went on to say that these smokers suffered from misconceptions about vaping.
“Incorrect perceptions among the public about the harms of vaping could prevent some smokers using vaping products to quit smoking.”
Public Health England
Conclusion Of Vaping in England Report 2020
Finally, the facts shine through the murky darkness banishing the myths and falsehoods that have surrounded vaping over the last so many years. Although we cannot persuade all smokers to switch to vaping as a safer alternative we can, by pushing this report, help reduce the negative fears around vaping in the UK therefore helping more smokers to quit tobacco.
It would be great for as many people as possible to share this article or the actual report which can be found here: Vaping in England Report 2020 by Public Health England