Researchers from Imperial College London have recorded a huge increase in e-cigarette usage by the general public between 2012 and 2014. The report found that the percentage of people from the UK who have tried the devices almost doubled from 8.9% in 2012 and to 15.5% in 2014; a trend which has continued to grow ever since.
Across Europe, a total of one in 10 people have now tried using an e-cigarette, as the number of people eschewing traditional cigarettes in favour of the safer units continues to increase. Data was collected from 53,000 respondents across the continent and determined that France had the highest level of e-cigarette use, with 20% of all those questioned admitting to having used the device.
On the other end of the scale, scientists found that Portugal was trailing behind its European counterparts in terms of switching to the use of e-cigarettes. Whilst it is hard to pinpoint the social and political motivations towards the public taking up the practice of vaping, researchers believe that the difference in legislation in favour of and against traditional smoking as well as the prevalence of marketing for the devices could be the public’s biggest influences.
E-cigarettes help smokers quit
Despite the RCP findings released earlier this month maintaining the safety of the devices as they become more popular, there has been a growing proportion of the public concerned with the safety of e-cigarettes, with the number of people concerned that the devices are dangerous rising from 27% to 51% across the continent. These figures however do predate the RCP’s findings and are likely to change as e-cigarettes are researched more intensely in years to come.
“This research shows e-cigarettes are becoming very popular,” said Dr Filippos Filippidis, lead author of the research from the School of Public Health at Imperial. “However, there is debate about the risks and benefits associated with e-cigarettes.”
He added: “We urgently need more research into the devices so that we can answer these questions.”
For many e-cigarette users, the devices are a voluntary method for smokers to attempt to quit, and as a result it is unlikely that the majority of vapers plan on using the devices on a long-term basis. And thanks to a 2014 study by researchers at University College London, which claims that e- cigarettes are 60% more effective than patches and gum for helping smokers quit, it is clear that their popularity is set to rise even further.