The data to compile the fact sheet were taken from an annual survey, Smokefree GB, carried out for ASH by YouGov. The survey first started collecting data about e-cigarette use behaviour among adults aged 18 and over in 2010. Use patterns were summarized as follows:
- Having fallen last year for the first time, the proportion of the adult population using e-cigarettes has increased this year to 7.1%, the same as in 2019, amounting to 3.6 million people.
- Nearly two thirds of current vapers are ex-smokers (64.6%), and the proportion continues to grow, while the proportion who also smoke (known as dual users) has fallen to 30.5% in 2021.3
- The proportion of adult smokers who have never tried e-cigarettes is continuing to decline slowly to 30.1% in 2021, while the proportion of smokers who are current users has been stable.4
- Fewer than 1% of never smokers are current vapers (amounting to 4.9% of vapers).
The report also indicated that while most smokers switch to the products in order to quit smoking, some others still believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking:
- As in previous years the main reason given by ex-smokers for vaping is to help them quit (36%) then to prevent relapse (20%).
- The main reason given by current smokers for vaping is to cut down (26%) then to help them quit (17%) and to prevent relapse (14%).
- Nearly a third of smokers incorrectly believe vaping is more or equally as harmful as smoking (32% compared to 34% in 2020).
Open tank systems remain the most popular type of devices
The fact sheet indicated that open tank systems remain the most popular type of vapes. With regards to products with cartridges Vype has been the most popular, and Juul is a close second. Interestingly, most vapers use lower concentrations of nicotine in their devices, and the majority have reduced this concentration further through the years.
The document reveals other interesting data, such as differences in use according to socio-economic distribution, age and smoking status. “More than half of current vapers who are ex-smokers (53.8%) in 2021 said they had been vaping for over 3 years, compared with 18% in 2017 when we started asking ex-smokers how long they have been vaping.
- 12.7% have vaped for under 1 year
- 33% have vaped for 1-3 years
- 53.8% have vaped for >3 years”