Newly released national statistics indicate that smoking rates in the UK are at their lowest levels in 44-years in some demographics, and the rising popularity of vaping is a significant contributing factor. Furthermore, the percentage of Brits who now self-identify as former smokers has soared to 56.7 percent. Great Britain hasn’t seen numbers like these since 1974.
The UK has an approximate population of 64 million compared to the 319 million of the United States. But this is not the only noteworthy difference between the two nations and their respective public stances on vaping versus smoking. In the UK, public health officials and physicians alike tend to encourage vaping as an effective smoking cessation tool. In the USA, agencies like the FDA and the CDC remain consistent in their refusal to officially endorse vaping in any perceivable away.
The UK Office of National Statistics Report
Scientists from the UK Office of National Statistics have been studying and evaluating the smoking habits of its citizens for many years, and each year they publish a report. For its most recent study, the organization also included the average daily vaping habits of specific demographics of the population. Below is a brief overview of some of the most important findings.
- The most significant decline is smoking rates occurred between 2010 and 2015 among the 18 to 24 age group, dropping from 25.7 percent to 20.7 percent. That’s an average of one percentage point per year.
- The majority of current adult smokers, about 23 percent, are between the ages of 24 to 34.
- The average age of the daily vaper falls between 34 to 49.
- The average daily cigarette consumption is only 11.3, which is another 44-year low.
- Smoking rates among the older population over 65 has declined to less than 9 percent.
- Approximately four percent of the total British population vape, either daily, occasionally, or via dual use. That’s about 2.3 million people in the combined locations of Great Britain, Scotland, and Wales.
- Over half of these 2.3 million vapers hope to eventually quit smoking permanently.
- Another 22 percent claim to have switched to vaping because it is considered safer and healthier than smoking, but they have no immediate plans to give up vaping right away.
- 10 percent of vapers claim that they like vaping because it is cheaper than buying tobacco cigarettes.
- Scotland is home to the largest percentage of British smokers, ranking in a 19.1 percent.
- Metropolitan areas experience higher percentages of smokers, with 32.3 percent of the UK smoking population residing in the city of Colby.
- Orkney Island boasts the lowest numbers of smokers, scoring a mere 7.0 percent.
In an interview with the British newspaper Barrhead News, the Director of the advocacy group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) says that the new statistics are very encouraging. Deborah Arnott also credits UK public health officials for taking such a pro-vaping stance. In fact, she encourages them to become even more vocal in their support of vaping as a tobacco harm reduction aid.
“The Government can’t leave it to individual smokers to try to quit (smoking) on their own. If the downward trend is to continue, we urgently need a new tobacco control plan for England, and proper funding for public health and for mass media campaigns.”
According to the new statistics, 19.3 percent of men in the UK are smokers compared to 15.3 percent of the female population. But clearly, it is the younger age group of 18 to 24 who are embracing vaping in the highest numbers. Coincidentally, they are also the ones who have the highest success rates of quitting smoking permanently, which refutes many American studies which often claim that vaping is a gateway rather than a roadblock to smoking in young adults.
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