The Use of E-cigarettes (vapes) Among Adults
It seems almost unbelievable that electronic cigarettes have only been around for a few years because they've become such an integral part of life for millions worldwide.
It's long been established that smoking causes numerous health problems, but vaping is estimated to be 95% safer than tobacco use.
With many positives associated with electronic nicotine delivery systems, more people can quit smoking for good and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
But just how many adults use e cigarettes, and what is e cigarette use among adults like?
What are e-cigarettes?
Electronic nicotine delivery systems are smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes and tobacco. They contain a battery, coil component and tank for holding e-liquid. When pressing the button or puffing on the device, the coil heats the e-liquid up and produces a vapour which is then inhaled.
As there's no burning tobacco involved, there are fewer health concerns associated with vaping, as opposed to the numerous health risks that come from smoking, and health professionals agree it's the better alternative.
Awareness of the health statistics surrounding smoking
Before the internet, people relied on newspapers and public health announcements for information, but today we have statistics, case studies and advice at our fingertips.
People now know (and understand) the dangers of smoking and how it can impact their health, with organisations like the NHS, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research publishing valuable statistics.
For example, a report by Cancer Research shows that tobacco use is directly linked to numerous variants of the condition, mainly as it contains multiple cancer-causing chemicals. Statistics also show that smokers have a lower life expectancy than a non-smoker (Bupa).
Current e-cigarette use is high in the Western world, but will it continue to grow? More importantly, what do the numbers reveal about e-cigarettes?
Let's dive in and look at some smoking statistics.
In the past, many people believed smoking was harmless, while some even thought it was good for them.
Luckily, doctors soon brought the adverse effects of tobacco to the public's attention, and small changes throughout the years ultimately changed how people viewed using tobacco.
Number of smokers over time
Statistics published by Statista give us a good idea of how tobacco control has affected the public. In 1974, 51% of men and 41% of women were smokers. By 1990, the numbers had fallen to 31% of men and 29% of women.
Each year the UK has witnessed a steady decrease in these numbers, which currently stand at 15.9% for men and 12.5% for women.
Changing perceptions about smoking
There have been numerous perceptions about smoking in the past, contributing to how people view tobacco. Young adults were particularly susceptible to believing that smoking was cool, especially as many celebrities did it.
Interestingly, a Californian study showed that young people have a more negative attitude toward smoking than just 12 years ago (UCSF).
People no longer view smoking as a rebellious thing, and these attitudes toward tobacco users mean fewer people are likely to experiment with smoking.
E-Cigarette use among adults: The stats
To understand how popular vaping is, we need to look at the current adult e-cigarette users in the UK and elsewhere. When it comes to UK statistics, it's clear that vaping is a well-known alternative to smoking that plenty of adults take advantage of.
The NHS Digital Report highlights the following statistics:
In 2021, 13% of ex-smokers used e-cigarettes to stop them from returning to tobacco.
By 2021, 5% of the UK adult population were vapers.
Ash also has some interesting studies, revealed in its 2022 report. The findings from that report show:
38% of e-cigarette users have decreased their nicotine strength over time.
65% of all e-cigarette users prefer refillable tank devices.
While these statistics highlight how electronic nicotine delivery systems are growing in popularity, around 30% of people still believe that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking.
Despite the NHS releasing a comprehensive report that evaluated the risks of vaping to be 95% lower than those caused by smoking, negative perceptions mean some people aren't changing from tobacco and continue to neglect their health.
International statistics on vaping
E-cigarettes are relatively young, despite having been on the market for over 20 years, so only a few reports accurately estimate the number of vapers in each country. However, we can look at the current information to get an idea of where vaping is growing in popularity.
The biggest e-cigarette markets
When it comes to countries that spend the most on vaping products, the UK, France and the USA are in the top three. According to The Healthy Journal, vapers invested around £8 Billion on accessories in 2018.
However, while these countries spend the most money on vaping, China has the highest number of electric cigarette users.
Vaping users worldwide
It's challenging to get an accurate estimate of e-cigarette users worldwide, but some researchers are using mapping techniques. Statistics published by Frontiers show that there were around 11 million vapers in 2011, but that number continued to rise.
By 2018, Frontiers estimated a whopping 41 million people were vaping worldwide, and we can expect those numbers to increase.
Global e-cigarettes market
The global vape product market continued to grow steadily for many years, but there were some disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukrainian war. However, we can see a positive correlation between 2022 and 2023.
The market was worth $21.63 billion in 2022 but grew to an impressive $25.33 billion in 2023. According to the report by The Business Research Company, the market should reach $44 billion by 2027.
The benefits of using electronic nicotine delivery systems
There's no doubt that current cigarette smokers put themselves at risk of numerous illnesses and side effects - but vaping is the healthier alternative.
To understand why vaping is becoming so popular, we need to look at its numerous benefits compared to smoking.
Vaping has many advantages, from being more cost-effective to helping former smokers avoid tobacco. Here are the most important ones.
Cigarettes contain dangerous chemicals
The average cigarette has numerous chemicals, carbon monoxide and tar. All of which can cause severe health issues, including 15 types of cancer, heart disease, circulatory problems, and a decreased life expectancy.
Vaping is different to smoking because the e-cigarette aerosol heats an oil instead of burning tobacco. There's no tar or carbon monoxide and fewer toxic chemicals in e-liquids.
As the NHS states that vaping is 95% safer than smoking tobacco, companies can no longer ignore the issue.
Electronic cigarette use comes with fewer risks, and as long as users choose reputable e-liquid producers, they can look forward to the benefits of vaping.
Smoking cessation aids were hit and miss
The NHS launched its smoking cessation clinics to help people quit smoking cigarettes. While these human services offered prescriptions and ongoing support to current cigarette smokers, the nicotine replacement therapy failed to replicate the experience.
Nicotine patches, gum and lozenges met each user's physical need for nicotine, but there was no relief from the mental cravings and boredom.
E-cigarettes replicate the smoking experience and give people the nicotine delivery they need. Better still, you can get tobacco-flavoured e-liquids, which adds authenticity.
The difference is that users won't expose themselves to the carbon monoxide, tar and other chemicals in traditional tobacco.
Tobacco control is evolving
Every responsible country wants to eliminate smoking and its associated risks, which is where tobacco control comes in. The World Health Organization offers advice on tobacco control and helps public health officials reduce the effects of the tobacco industry in each country.
Many countries, such as the UK, are reducing the number of current smokers and ensuring that teenage youth and young adults understand the risks of both smoking and smokeless tobacco.
Officials in the UK have also set out a plan to make the country smoke-free by 2030. Electronic cigarettes will be instrumental in achieving this goal because vape pens will substitute regular cigarettes.
Smoking is now a huge investment
Smoking isn't just risky; it's also costly. In the past few years, the prices have skyrocketed, which means many people are seeking cheaper alternatives - such as vaping.
According to research published by Everyday Health, a smoker with a 20-a-day habit will spend around £4841 each year, which is staggering, considering the average price for 20 cigarettes was just £7.10 in 2012.
Considering that the average cost of vaping is significantly lower, it's easy to see why so many adult smokers are moving on to vaping.
Will e-cigarette use continue to grow?
While some people have a negative opinion of electronic cigarettes, it's clear they'll continue to be a favourite nicotine delivery system. One of the main concerns people have is preventing youth e-cigarette use, which is becoming an issue.
Vaping is nowhere near as dangerous as smoking, but many would also agree that young people shouldn't be reliant on nicotine.
E-cigarettes marketed online target adults, but just like alcohol and traditional cigarettes, some young people ignore age restrictions to get hold of disposable vape pens.
Adults, however, can trust a reputable provider like 88Vape. Our vape pens and e-liquids are mixed in-house, and we go out of our way to ensure that only adults 18 and over have access to our products.
With so many people using e-cigs, we can expect the numbers to grow as the government aims to reach its smoke-free plan.
If society can reduce tobacco products' health consequences, future generations will live longer and have fewer risks of serious diseases.