Vaping may help tens of thousands quit smoking, UK study shows

The increase in vaping correlates with the decline in smoking.
Roughly 50 000 to 70 000 UK smokers are giving up cigarettes annually, and embracing e-cigarettes, report shows. Image: Andrew Burton, Getty Images

Vaping has helped tens of thousands of Britons quit smoking each year, a study showed, underlining the UK’s more tolerant stance on the alternative to cigarettes as a backlash grows in the US.

Roughly 50 000 to 70 000 UK smokers are giving up annually and embracing e-cigarettes, according to the report by researchers at University College London. The study analysed the rise of vaping since 2011, saying it correlated with a pattern of declining smoking rates since then.

The report highlights a difference in attitudes toward vaping in the US and the UK. A number of American states and cities have limited access to the new devices following more than 1 000 cases of ailments that have largely been linked to liquids laced with the psychoactive compound in cannabis.

There’s been no similar spread of illness in Europe, and UK health officials have reiterated their stance that vaping is less harmful than cigarettes, encouraging smokers to switch.

“England seems to have found a sensible balance between regulation and promotion of e-cigarettes,” said lead author Emma Beard. “Millions of smokers are using them to try to stop smoking or to cut down the amount they smoke.”

Data were based on thousands of smokers between 2006 and 2017, tracking their efforts to quit and their use of e-cigarettes. The findings were published Thursday by the scientific journal Addiction, and the study was funded by Cancer Research UK.

Michael R. Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg, has campaigned and given money in support of a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes and tobacco and supports efforts to reduce global demand for tobacco worldwide.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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