In the UK, smoking has been a cultural fixture for decades. But with the rise of electronic cigarettes, everything is changing. As thousands of British smokers transition to vaping, researchers are seeing the difference. Now a new study reveals that UK smoking has hit a historic low, with only 18.7 percent of adults lighting up.
Researchers from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released the new data this week, nothing that this is the lowest smoking rate seen in more than 70 years. It’s clear that vaping is paving a new road for Brits and many are leaving behind cigarettes for good.
The study gave some interesting incite into those that continue to smoke. It seems that women are far less likely to use cigarettes, with only 16.5 percent of women reporting tobacco use. On the other hand, around 21.1 percent of men are still smoking. Researchers also reported that about half of the people they surveyed said they had never used cigarettes with a third claimed they were previous smokers that had managed the quit.
This is a massive change from previous years. When you look back 70 years, more than half of UK adults were smoking and two-thirds of men used cigarettes. The rate stayed pretty steady for many years and ONS reported that 45 percent of Brits were current smokers in 1974.
Fortunately, things are changing and we can’t help but wonder if the rise of electronic cigarettes might be one of the key factors in the massive exodus from tobacco use. For the first time in history, British smokers have a tobacco-free option that makes cessation a little less overwhelming. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt encouraged people to continue working hard to kick the habit. “Those ONS statistics show that the number of smokers is at its lowest level ever,” he reported. “It’s never to late to stop.”
ASH executive Deborah Arnott said there is definitely cause to celebrate over the new reports, but the battle is far from over. “This statistically significant decline in adult smokers shows that the government’s tobacco control plan is working. However, over 80,000 people still die from smoking every year in England and every week hundreds of children take up smoking,” she said.
Arnott encouraged continued attention to tobacco use and called for legislators to keep fighting back against Big Tobacco’s marketing schemes. “We urge the government to waste no time in allowing parliament to vote on the regulations which will finally get rid of glitzy, glamorous cigarette packs forever.”
In the past, ecig critics have claimed that the rising interest in vaping would renormalize smoking and lead to higher rates of tobacco use. This study proves that just the opposite is happening. Today’s Brits are wise to the dangers of tobacco and they are choosing a better alternative by opting to vape instead.