UK Adults Will go Back to Cigarettes if a Ban on E-Cigarettes Passes

A recent study published in the Royal Society for Public Health investigated the trends in disposable e-cigarette use by adults in Great Britain since 2021. The study used random data from a monthly cross-sectional survey sample of adults in Great Britain who reported currently vaping and asked which type of vape the most commonly use. As the UK government is consulting on banning disposable e-cigarettes it is important to understand who this will affect. 

Key Findings: 

  • From January 2021 to August 2023, the prevalence of disposable e-cigarettes grew from 0.1% to 4.9%,
  • Banning disposable e-cigarettes has the potential to slow progress in driving down smoking prevalence and reducing smoking-related harm
  • Usage in less advantaged social grades was 6.1%, banning disposable vapes could worsen health inequalities
  • The ban would cause the 1.2 million people who currently smoke and the 744,000 who previously smoke to be without access to a product proven to aid in quitting smoking. 

The study survived and used data from 69,973 adults from many different sociodemographic and smoking backgrounds. They were asked if the vape or smoke and then asked what type of device they use to do so. Of the surveyed group 42.4% of the adults were using disposables. Banning disposable e-cigarettes takes away a commonly used product to safely stop smoking.

 Based on the data from those surveyed a ban on disposable e-cigarettes would affect 1 in 20 adults in Great Britain which is approximately 2.6 million people with a disproportionate impact on disadvantage groups who have higher rates of smoking and struggles to quit.