Vaping – the latest research, facts and data

There’s a lot of research out there on vaping – and that research is growing all the time! We’ve gathered together some of the most interesting and valuable statistics about vaping currently out there, so you get the facts.

See what stats have been shaking up current understanding with 2023 vaping research, the latest research into quitting smoking and much more.

Vaping statistics show health benefits compared to smoking

Vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking
The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities published a Nicotine vaping in England: 2022 evidence update summery which found that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking. The report also mentions that this huge difference in risk factors isn’t widely understood by the public, with 39% of current smokers falsely believing that vaping is as or more harmful than smoking.

Smokers who switch to vaping substantially reduce exposure to toxins
Researchers at King’s College London said smokers who switched to vaping would experience a “substantial reduction” in their exposure to toxic substances that cause cancer, lung and cardiovascular disease.

Switching to vaping offers a 70% reduction in smoking-related diseases
A smoker who makes the switch to vaping would have a 70% reduction in smoking-related diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema, says research from Brunel University London. If just half of smokers switched, it could save the NHS a whopping £500 million a year.

The latest UK research on vaping and quitting smoking

The government hopes to make England smokefree by 2030
The Tobacco Control Plan for England lays out the government’s ambition for England to be smokefree by the year 2030. To be considered ‘smokefree’, the number of adults smoking in England would have to drop to 5% or less.

Back in 2019, the government published a green paper on preventative health; Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s, which said its intent was for smokers to quit or move to reduced risk products like vapes.

Vaping identified as crucial tool for making England smokefree
The Khan review is an independent review of the government’s ambition to be smokefree by 2030 and it identifies vaping as a critical recommendation for achieving that goal. It also suggested sharing accurate information on the benefits of switching from smoking to vaping with healthcare professionals.

Vaping Vs. Nicotine Replacement Therapies: the facts

Vaping makes you 63% more likely to quit smoking
A review published in The Pharmaceutical Journal found that people using e-cigarettes are 63% more likely to give up smoking than those using other forms of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).

E-cigarettes are twice as effective at helping you give up than other NRT
We had a look at just how effective vapes can be as a way to help you give up tobacco and research from the latest Cochrane Review shows that vapes are twice as effective as other NTSs.  

E-cigarettes have fewer side effects than NRTs
The National Institute for Health and Care Research discovered that e-cigarettes were associated with fewer side effects than common NRTs like patches and gum, which can cause things like skin irritation and headaches.

Vaping and pregnancy: get the facts

10% of pregnant women still smoking at birth
Quitting smoking can be tough. In a report from The Royal College of Midwives  in 2019, it was revealed that over 10% of pregnant women were still smoking at the time of childbirth. The same paper from RCM classified women who’d moved to using vapes exclusively, could be considered non-smokers.

Those who quit early in pregnancy have same risk of complications as non-smokers
The Royal College of Midwives expressed their support of pregnant women using an e-cigarette to help them quit smoking. They also shared research that showed that those who quit smoking early in their pregnancy have the same risk of complications as non-smokers. In fact, the evidence shows that stopping smoking early on can almost entirely prevent adverse effects.

Vaping as effective and safe as nicotine patches during pregnancy
A study from Queen Mary University of London, published in Nature Medicine, compares the efficacy and safety of e-cigarettes compared to nicotine patches for helping pregnant women quit smoking. Not only were e-cigarettes found to be almost twice as effective, but also that those using e-cigarettes had fewer babies born with a low birth weight than those using nicotine patches. Find out more in our article on vaping and nicotine patches during pregnancy.

E-cigarettes better for helping pregnant woman quit smoking
E-cigarettes have been found to be more effective than NRTs in helping pregnant women quit smoking, according to a recent study by the National Institute for Health Research. Good news for women who’re keen to get off cigarettes while pregnant.

Research on the cognitive risks of smoking

Smokers twice as likely to experience cognitive decline
A study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that smoking is linked to an increase in cognitive issues. It revealed that current smokers over the age of 45 are twice as likely to experience cognitive issues like memory loss and confusion as those who are considered non-smokers. Find out more about how quitting can reverse cognitive decline.

Quitting smoking can stave off cognitive decline
The same paper from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that quitting smoking can help stave off future issues like memory loss in your 40s and 50s. This makes you less likely to experience cognitive decline in middle age. which is seen as an early indicator of later cognitive problems like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Only 18% of smokers know that smoking can cause dementia
Alzheimer’s Research UK has shared information about the fact that while 70% of smokers know that smoking causes health problems like lung diseases and cancer, only 18% of them are aware that it is also known to cause dementia, which is the most feared health condition for people over the age of 55.

Recent data on the health risks of smoking

Smoking is UK’s leading cause of preventable illness and death
The government reports that smoking remains the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the UK, with an estimated two out of every three life-long smokers expected to die from a smoking related illness. Find out more about how the government supports the switch to vaping with its Swap to Stop scheme.

75,000 people in the UK die from smoking every year
ASH reports that 75,000 people in the UK die from smoking every year, while there have only been five fatalities potentially linked in any way to vaping products reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the last 12 years.

Four out of every ten smokers mistakenly thinks vaping is more harmful than smoking
The Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) ‘Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain’ survey for 2023 discovered that four out of every ten smokers (39%) incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful or more harmful than smoking.

The cost of smoking vs. vaping according to research

Switching from vaping to smoking can save £780 a year
A recent study from University College London found that those who make the switch from smoking to vaping could save up to £780 a year. That’s a significant chunk of change, especially when you consider the current cost of living. Check out our insights into ways that vaping is cheaper than smoking.

Smokers spend £2,451 per year on tobacco, on average
Analysis from ASH shows that, on average, smokers spend £2,451 per year on tobacco products. And with around 5,830,000 smokers in England, that adds up to a lot of money being spent on cigarettes throughout the country.

Smoking costs England £17.3 billion a year
An economic analysis from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has calculated the cost of smoking to England to be £17.3 billion per year. This includes the cost due to lack of productivity, meaning things like smoking related unemployment and smoking related lost earnings, as well as the cost to the NHS and social care.

Vaping and smoking rates in the UK

Vaping numbers are up, smoking numbers are down
According to the latest research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), smoking rates in the UK have dropped to 12.9%. This information was revealed in the organisation’s Annual Population Survey (APS) and signals an encouraging drop in the number of people choosing tobacco products.  Check out our in-depth article to find out more about the fact that UK smoking rates are at their lowest since records began.

8.7% of people in Britain currently use e-cigarettes sometimes
Also reported in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) was the fact that 8.7% of people in Britain currently use an e-cigarette either daily or occasionally, up from 7.7% in 2021. It seems that a growing number of people are swapping tobacco cigarettes for vapes and enjoying the resulting health benefits.

Vaping decreased number of 18-year olds smoking by 20% in a year
The Independent British Vape Trade Association commissioned a survey that found that vaping can play a role in reducing the number of 18-year-olds who regularly smoke, reporting a fall from 24.5% in 2021 to 19.5% in 2022 – a 20% decrease in young adults smoking one year alone.

Why make the switch?
The latest stats, data and research on vaping and smoking clearly shows the health benefits of ditching tobacco products in favour of vapes. If you’re considering making the switch, our guide  might be useful. Or if you’re already convinced and ready to get started, our handy article for people who are new to vaping has lots of tips and hints.