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Smoking cessation: Regular e-cigarette use remains low

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Just 1.7% of under-18s use e-cigarettes weekly or Just 1.7% of under-18s use e-cigarettes weekly or more

Regular vaping among young people remains low in Britain and has plateaued among adults, a report led commissioned by Public Health England has found.

The report found that while experimentation with e-cigarettes among young people has increased in recent years, regular use remains low. Just 1.7% of under-18s use e-cigarettes weekly or more, and the vast majority of those also smoke. Among young people who have never smoked, only 0.2% use e-cigarettes regularly.

Regular e-cigarette use among adults has plateaued over recent years, and remains largely confined to smokers and ex-smokers, with ‘quitting smoking’ the main motivation for adult vapers.

‘In contrast to recent media reports in the US, we are not seeing a surge in e-cigarette use among young people in Britain,’ said Professor John Newton, Health Improvement Director at Public Health England.

‘While more young people are experimenting with e-cigarettes, the crucial point is that regular use remains low and is very low indeed among those who have never smoked. We will keep a close watch on young people’s vaping and smoking habits to ensure we stay on track to achieve our ambition of a smoke-free generation.’

E-cigarettes are now the most popular quit aid. However, just over a third of smokers have never tried one. Only 4% of quit attempts through Stop Smoking Services in England are made using e-cigarettes. Additionally, smoking rates in young people have plateaued in recent years, while smoking rates among adults continue to fall, with just under 15% of adults in England smoking, according to government figures.

‘We could accelerate the decline in smoking if more smokers switched completely to vaping. Recent new evidence clearly shows using an e-cigarette with Stop Smoking Service support can double your chances of quitting,’ added Professor Newton.

‘But with e-cigarettes currently used so rarely in services, it’s time for change. Every Stop Smoking Service must start talking much more about the potential of vaping to help smokers quit. If you smoke, switching to vaping could save you years of ill health, and even your life.’

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