An article published last month by the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA), pointed out that for the first time in history, the number of ex-smokers in the UK is larger than the number of smokers. These numbers were confirmed by the annual Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) survey, and this significant drop in smoking has been widely attributed to the advent of electronic cigarettes.
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However, the situation is not looking as promising anymore. “The rapid growth in e-cigarette use has come to an end while over a third of smokers have still never tried e-cigarettes, saying the main reasons are concerns about the safety and addictiveness of e-cigarettes. It’s very important smokers realise that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking.” said ASH in their press release.
There are approximately 2.9 million vapers in the UK alone, and countless success stories about smokers who successfully curbed their lifelong habits via vaping. Additionally last year, Public Health England released data saying that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, after which stop smoking services around the UK started suggesting the devices as smoking cessation tools. Then, why are the numbers of people switching to the safer alternatives dropping?
The effect of implicit messages and unreasonable regulations
Additionally, adds the organization, the reason why many people may have stopped turning to devices is the TPD regulation banning sales of nicotine containing e-liquids above 20 mg/ml. “The ASH survey found that only 6% of vapers use nicotine above the TPD maximum of 20 mg/ml” , however when translated into numbers, this percentage equates to significantly large number of people.
It is a known fact that when smokers first turn to vaping, they first start with higher doses of nicotine to match the hit they were getting from their cigarettes, and then proceed to wean themselves slowly in order to curb their addiction. Hence, besides that 6%, many other vapers would have started on higher doses and reduced to lower ones, and not allowing nicotine doses over 20mg/ml, is putting a stumbling block in that first step of a smoker’s journey to a smoke free life.
The ASH report clearly indicates where the problem lies
The NNA pointed out that the ASH findings pertaining to a stall in the number of switchers, and a decrease in the number of vapers using a higher strength liquid are clear indicators of where the problem lies. The effects of the misinformation being reported by the media and at times inaccurate scientific reports, coupled with the first effects of the TPD in action seem to be preventing many from making the life saving switch.
“Higher strength liquids all but disappeared months ago from most shops as they prepared for compliance, as did advertising. The reason that vaping numbers have stalled may very well be because smokers are no longer switching and the sample used in the survey now contains a higher proportion of more experienced vapers, who tend to use lower strength liquids. This is a perfect example of how to take something that was improving lives in the real world and utterly bugger it up. The ASH survey illustrates that beautifully.” concluded the NNA.