National statistics confirm the increase in smoking cessation rates in the UK, a scientific argument against allegations of anti-vaping advocates

The Smoking Toolkit Study, a periodic study of smoking cessation trends in England, released the last figures on February 9, 2016.

The survey shows for 2016:

  • an overall decrease of cigarette smoking prevalence down to 17%,
  • the rate of decrease in smoking prevalence is high (+1.7%),
  • stop smoking in the last 12 months has been rising since 2011 and reaches 7.5%,
  • stop smoking attempts in past year reaches 32%,
  • success rate for stopping (successful try) is at its highest level (23%).

UK data refute argument that e-cigarettes are useless for smoking cessation

The analysis of these figures by M. Siegel points out the most striking finding of this study: the success rate for smokers who tried to quit in the past year has increased from below 14% in 2011 to 23% in 2016. The main hypothesis under this trend is, according to the expert, a shift in methods used for quitting from nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to e-cigarettes.

Support used in quit attempts (from 09/02/2016)
Support used in quit attempts by adult smokers in the UK (from 09/02/2016)
“There is no basis for anti-vaping advocates to continue to claim that there is no evidence that e-cigarettes can be effective for smoking cessation.” -M. Siegel
As shown by the monthly figures, a shift away from the use of NRT in quit attempts towards the use of electronic cigarettes initiated in 2011. The year 2011 corresponds to the introduction of the e-cigarette on the UK’s market, says the expert. NRT use represented more than 30% of the attempts prior to 2011 and fell to only 10% five years later. In the meantime, e-cigarette use grew up to 40% in 2016.


A negative slope of GP-triggered quit attempts since 2011 may indicate that most quitters try on their own, without the help of practicians, using commercial e-cigarettes.

One can expect that this latter trend reverses in the coming months, if GPs can effectively provide e-cigarettes under prescription to their patients. Up to now, the legal frame is set up but the licensed e-cigarette is still not available.


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