VEEXtech Statistics Department: the number of e-cigarette users reached a record high

According to government data just released by the office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of e-cigarettes in the UK has risen to the highest level ever recorded, while the number of British adults smoking has fallen below 14% for the first time in many years.


The office for national statistics has released its annual report on the prevalence of smoking in the UK, which includes data on the number of adults who smoke e-cigarettes.


In 2014, when data on the number of e-cigarette users in the UK were collected, 3.7% of the population reported using e-cigarettes. By 2020, this proportion has risen to 6.4%, equivalent to about 3.3 million people.

The report also shows that the number of adult smokers in the UK currently accounts for 13.8% of the total population, which is the lowest percentage since at least 2015.


However, according to the monthly data of the National Bureau of statistics, the smoking rate rose sharply during the new crown pandemic and the national blockade, reaching a peak of 16.3% in August, and then slowly decreased to 13.8% by the end of 2020.


John Dunn, director general of the British e-cigarette Industry Association, analyzed that although the increase in smoking rate during the blockade may be attributed to the increase in anxiety caused by the new crown pandemic, I would also like to point out the fact that the exclusive e-cigarette stores have not been granted the status of basic retail, so they have to close down, which is an important factor.


John Dunn continued: This is a very popular announcement, because all those who support harm reduction know that the harm of e-cigarettes is much smaller than that of smoking - up to 95% according to the data of the British public health bureau, the former health protection supervision agency - so more people smoke e-cigarettes and reduce smoking can only be celebrated.


The office for national statistics' smoking prevalence report emphasizes that the number of former smokers using e-cigarettes has increased from 11.7% in 2019 to 12.3%, while the number of smokers using e-cigarettes at the same time - thereby reducing the harm caused by their exposure to combustible tobacco - has increased from 15.5% in 2019 to 17.8% in 2020.


John Dunn said: what these figures tell me is that the powerful anti e-cigarette lobby tried to discredit the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in helping people quit smoking, but it didn't work at all.

"On the other hand, e-cigarettes advocates have the scientific and political will, and more and more health care departments support the use of e-cigarettes to help smokers give up their habits completely. This momentum has finally eliminated the nonsense and misinformation about e-cigarettes, so that consumers have the confidence to take key steps to make the transition from smoking combustible tobacco."

Important data of statistical report:

Officials say that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way statistics are collected, which may be a factor that leads to an unrealistic decline in the proportion of adults smoking in 2020 seen in the annual population survey (APS), the usual source of information. Therefore, these figures should be treated with caution.


Smoking data in the UK, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales:

In the first quarter of 2020, 13.5% of adults smoked (equivalent to about 5.5 million adults), which is not statistically significantly different from the 2019 estimate (13.9%, about 5.7 million). In the second to fourth quarters of 2020, 12.1% of adults in England smoked (about 4.9 million).

Looking at other UK countries, Scotland had the highest proportion of smokers in the first quarter of 2020 (16.0%, about 658000 people) and the second to fourth quarters of 2020 (14.0%, about 571000 people).


Northern Ireland had the smallest proportion of current smokers in the first quarter of 2020, at 13.2% (about 181000), and the proportion remained unchanged in the second to fourth quarters of 2020 (about 175000).


In Wales, 15.3 per cent of adults smoked in the first quarter of 2020 (about 364000 people), compared with 13.2 per cent (about 316000 people) in the second to fourth quarters of 2020.


Before March 2021, respondents were asked whether they currently use e-cigarettes or e-cigarettes; Therefore, even if people use it "every day" or "occasionally", they are classified as current users. In March, 2021, the survey question was changed to ask the respondents whether they are daily users or temporary users. In order to compare current users with previous years, we have summarized the data of daily users and occasional users. Questions about e-cigarettes were raised only in June, July and September.