There is a large trust gap among smokers about e-cigarettes, with more than half now believing e-cigarettes are as harmful or more harmful than cigarettes.
The UK Kahn Review report shows that e-cigarettes play a central role in the country's smoke-free future. More than 6.5 million people in the UK smoke, e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes
Distrust of vaping is growing, with nearly 38% of those who lack trust in vaping saying they will not attempt to vape to quit smoking in the future, according to a poll of 2,000 smokers in the UK.
According to the research report "Adult Smokers' Trust in E-cigarettes", 29% of people believe that e-cigarettes are a way to quit smoking, while 13% do not believe that vaping can help them quit smoking at all.
Of those who lack trust in vaping, 35% believe there is a lack of clinical studies showing that vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes Other factors contributing to the lack of trust include: Negative press and research experienced by smokers, countries around the world Inconsistent government attitudes towards e-cigarettes, the growing black market for e-cigarettes, and the World Health Organization's view on e-cigarettes.
It is estimated that more than 3.6 million adults in the UK use e-cigarettes - 7.1% of the adult population. Of these vapers in 2021, 64.6% of current vapers are ex-smokers, while 30.5% also smoke and the proportion of adult smokers who try vaping continues to grow, while the proportion of never-tried continues to decline.
"Government statistics last year showed that the proportion of smokers in the UK was at its lowest level on record, a decline largely attributable to the major role played by e-cigarettes.
However, the findings of this study highlight a large trust gap that exists among adult smokers, and the vaping industry, government, regulators, and healthcare professionals must come together to close this gap and support smokers to quit are important.
Health Secretary Neil O'Brien said the government must "harness the enormous potential of e-cigarettes to help adult smokers quit. Although reducing or quitting smoking can be very difficult, they must be convinced that their attempts will not be a waste of time, if e-cigarettes are to be seen as a reliable way to quit smoking, urgent steps need to be taken to ensure smokers trust that these products will have the desired impact.
People use e-cigarettes for a variety of reasons. The vast majority are for health reasons, to help them quit smoking, prevent relapse or reduce their smoking. Surveys of e-cigarette users report that vaping is less expensive than smoking cigarettes, protects others from second-hand smoke, and gives them pleasure.
Findings from a recent report published by Public Health England suggest that vaping is the most popular means of quitting smoking attempts. In 2020, 27.2% used vaping products to try to quit smoking in the past 12 months, compared to 15.5% who used over-the-counter NRT or prescription drugs (2.7%), and 4.4% who used varenicline. In 2020, more than half (64%) of e-cigarette users in the UK had quit smoking. Nearly one in 10 (9.5%) of all ex-smokers used e-cigarettes regularly. It is clear that e-cigarettes have played and will continue to play an important role in helping people quit and stay smoke-free.