The latest data from the Smoking Toolkit Study shows that UK smokers are attempting to quit more often than they did in previous years. If you are wondering what could be causing the spike in quitting attempts, data also shows a major increase in the incidence of e-cigarette use. Could there be a connection?
In 2011, only 2 percent of UK smokers were using electronic cigarettes but just two years later, that number has increased to 16 percent. This eight-fold increase in e-cig use could be directly responsible for the major increase in how many smokers report trying to give up tobacco cigarettes. While we cannot say with certainty that the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes is causing more smokers to quit, it definitely seems that there is a correlation.
Whether or not you believe that electronic cigarettes are effective for helping smokers quit, there is no denying that these products are at least causing more smokers to try giving up tobacco. If nothing else, they are igniting an interest in smoking cessation and peaking the motivations of cigarette users so they start to investigate alternatives to their current cigarette usage.
Although e-cigarettes are not designed for use as smoking cessation devices, they do seem to be effective when used as a nicotine replacement. Tobacco Analysis recently pointed out that e-cigs “offer hope to millions of smokers who have been unsuccessful using the FDA-approved smoking cessation products.”
Perhaps that is why it is most shocking that so many anti-smoking groups are taking a public stand against e-cigarettes, calling them a gateway product to lure nonsmokers into using nicotine. When talking to actual e-cig users, you will likely hear the exact opposite. The majority of people vaping e-cigs are former smokers that turned to these products as a way out of their previous cigarette habits.
The other popular argument against e-cigarettes is that they allow smokers to continue using nicotine for the long-term even after giving up tobacco. While some smokers do choose to continue using nicotine solution in their e-cigarettes, there are others that gradually reduce their nicotine use until they are no longer using any nicotine at all. This is the chief reason why many popular ecig brands offer e-cig cartridges with zero nicotine. The goal for many vapers is to gradually reduce nicotine levels until they are vaping with the zero nicotine e-liquids and cartridges.
The recent data from the United Kingdom is just further evidence that e-cigarettes are leading to positive changes in the smoking community. Rather than causing an increase in the number of smokers, which would support the “gateway theory”, we are seeing an increase in the number of smokers that are trying to stop smoking. It seems that e-cigs are having a positive impact and that is just one more reason to celebrate the industry once again!
Do you think that e-cigarettes are directly responsible for the increased quit attempts among UK smokers?