A total of 7% of Welsh adults are vaping and latest figures show the vast majority have quit or are trying to quit smoking. Figures released today by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) also reveal a third of smokers have yet to even try vaping.
Findings from the YouGov survey of 12,000 British adults show the majority of current e-cigarette users, 52%, are ex-smokers, 44% are currently still smoking and only 4% of e-cigarette users have never smoked.
However, many smokers are being put off from trying an e-cigarette due to a lack of knowledge about the products and the benefits of switching.
Public perceptions around e-cigarettes remain inaccurate with almost a quarter of the population thinking e-cigarettes are as harmful or more harmful than tobacco.
A recent report by Westminster MPs stated there is clear evidence e-cigarettes are substantially less harmful than conventional cigarettes and the UK government was missing an opportunity with e-cigarettes to help smokers quit.
There are more than 470,000 smokers in Wales and over 5,000 people die every year because of a smoking related illness. Smoking rates in the most deprived areas remain stubbornly high at 28% and the financial burden of being a smoker increases year-on-year.
Suzanne Cass, Chief Executive Officer of ASH Wales, said: ”We need to do all we can to help the 40% of smokers that try to give up every year, succeed. If you smoke the best thing you can do is to quit altogether, but if you can’t then switching to an e-cigarette could save your life.
”We have fantastic free stop smoking services in Wales who can help you whether you’re a smoker who vapes or someone who just wants to quit. Getting the right support is a crucial part of that stop smoking journey.
”Misconceptions about e-cigarettes could be stopping many smokers from starting that journey.”
She went on to say that the results of the survey are encouraging: ”We welcome the results of the survey which show that the vast majority of e-cigarette users are either smokers or ex-smokers using vaping to replace or cut down on conventional cigarettes. Evidence shows e-cigarettes are a highly effective smoking cessation tool and we must do all we can to spread this message among those smokers who have yet to try them.”
Help Me Quit is the national smoking cessation service run by NHS Wales and helps smokers to find the service that suits them best. To find out more visit www.ash.wales/who-can-help-me/