Regular e-cigarette use remains low among young people in Britain

Regular vaping among young people remains low in Britain and has plateaued among adults, an independent report led by researchers at King’s College London and commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) has found.

The report is the first in a new set of 3, commissioned by PHE under the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan for England. It looks specifically at the use of e-cigarettes rather than health impacts, which will be the subject of a future report.

The findings show that while experimentation with e-cigarettes among young people has increased in recent years, regular use remains low. Only 1.7% of under-18s use e-cigarettes weekly or more, and the vast majority of those also smoke. Among young people who have never smoked, only 0.2% use e-cigarettes regularly.

Regular e-cigarette use among adults has plateaued over recent years, and remains largely confined to smokers and ex-smokers, with ‘quitting smoking’ the main motivation for adult vapers.

Despite e-cigarettes now being the most popular quit aid, just over a third of smokers have never tried one. Only 4% of quit attempts through Stop Smoking Services in England are made using e-cigarettes, despite this being an effective approach.

The report recommends that Stop Smoking Services should do more to encourage smokers that want to quit with the help of an e-cigarette.

Smoking rates in young people have plateaued in recent years, while smoking rates among adults continue to fall, with just under 15% of adults in England smoking, according to government figures.

A major UK clinical trial, published recently and not included in this PHEreport has found e-cigarettes, when combined with face-to-face support, to be up to twice as effective for quitting smoking as other nicotine replacement products, such as patches or gum.

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