Public Health England have released a new Evidence Update today.
The report is the first of three reports commissioned by Public Health England to summarise evidence to underpin policy and regulation of vaping products in England. It focuses mainly on the latest evidence on prevalence and characteristics of vaping in young people and adults.
The main findings are:
- Overall, England continues to take small progressive steps towards ensuring vaping remains an accessible and appealing alternative to smoking.
- The proportion of young people who have never smoked who vape at least weekly remains very low (0.2% of 11 to 18 year olds in 2018).
- Just over a third of all current smokers have never tried a vaping product.
- Over time, most vapers report either continuing to use the same nicotine strength (44.7% of participants in one survey, 54.4% in another) or reducing the nicotine strength (40.1% and 49.2% respectively in the same surveys).
- One survey which the report looked at indicated that over time most vapers tend to stick to a single flavour type (tobacco, fruit, menthol were the most popular types).
- Quitting smoking remains the main reason for vaping in all socio-economic groups. People from higher socio-economic groups were possibly more likely to vape for enjoyment than those from lower groups, who may be more likely to vape for financial reasons than those from higher groups.
- Stop smoking practitioners and health professionals supporting smokers to quit should receive education and training on using EC in quit attempts.
It comes as no surprise that the tabloid media has chosen to lead reporting on this evidence update with the finding that experimentation with vaping among young people has increased, despite no evidence that this is leading to smoking, or even regular use of vaping. As Professor John Newton pointed out on Sky News earlier this morning, ''...the newspapers don't give the full story''.
The IBVTA will continue with our strategy to deliver policy which creates confidence in the products and the independent industry, so that more smokers make the switch to vaping.
Liam Humberstone of the IBVTA's Steering Committee said, ''The key message from today's report is that more consistency is needed in the public health messaging about vaping across the country. One out of three adult smokers have never tried a vaping product, while youth uptake remains very low. It's time now to push on and help more adult smokers out of their smoking habit.''