A new study released by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has revealed that in 2015 alone, an additional 18,000 smokers switched to vaping on a permanent basis.
As a phenomenon, vaping has grown significantly since its introduction in 2003; and as its popularity has risen and awareness has spread, more and more smokers are making the switch to e-cigarettes.
While this is bad news for big tobacco companies – who collectively saw their share prices drop by 2-3% – it’s great news for those who are trying to quit but have so far failed to do so, through other methods such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
E-cigarettes are currently expected to overtake traditional cigarettes in sales by 2047, but that date may well be adjusted to reflect the gradual transition of a non-tobacco dependent society, as more smokers make the switch.
With research claiming that a 40-year-old smoker who quits will enjoy an extra nine living years, versus those who carry on with their habit, the advantage of a smoking cessation device that can be voluntarily bought and used with great success is hard to contest.
Furthermore, the study claims to undermine the theory that the increase in usage of e-cigarettes conflicts and undermines the idea of quitting in general.
E-cigarettes a ‘major contributor’ to fall in smoking
The far-reaching possibilities of this new study not only affect smokers and ex-smokers, but also those who have never touched a cigarette, as the cost of treatments and surgeries for smokers amounts to a shocking £2bn a year on the NHS – a fair amount of money that could eventually be redirected to helping those with underfunded medical conditions.
“Successful quitting through substitution with electronic cigarettes is a likely contributor to the falling prevalence of smoking,” said John Britton from the University of Nottingham.
He also claimed that the significant year-on-year fall in the prevalence of smoking “…indicates that something in UK tobacco control policy is working, and successful quitting through substitution with e-cigarettes is one likely major contributor.
“The challenge for public health is to embrace the potential of this new technology, and put it to full use.”
The authors of the study admit that as electronic cigarettes are a relatively new commercial product for the public, they cannot comment on the long-term significance of vaping trends.
However, as evidence mounts between various studies and support through institutions such as the Royal College of Physicians, the benefits of e-cigarettes as an effective method to quit smoking are hard to ignore.