Do e-cigarettes help smokers quit?

Ben GlanvilleHead of Data Services, UK & Growth Markets
June 28, 2019, 5:00 AM GMT+0

They’ve been around for less than a decade, but e-cigarettes have already helped many Britons give up smoking and are increasingly taking over from patches and chewing gum. A recent study by University College London found that e-cigarettes are more effective than nicotine patches at helping smokers quit.

Just 13% of the nation say they smoke. Almost a third (31%) of Brits have kicked the habit, with the majority of those who quit more than six months ago (55%) saying they used willpower to quit. The second most popular (16%) method of quitting is also one of the newest: e-cigarettes.

Quitting smoking can be an ordeal, but most of these ex-smokers (64%) say they were successful on their first or second attempt. And almost two thirds (63%) said they found it very or fairly easy to stop.

Is vaping the new go-to method?

Among these ex-smokers who have given up smoking multiple times, 70% said they had tried and failed using willpower, while around a quarter (26%) had tried nicotine patches and 19% used nicotine chewing gum.

These figures are at just 8% for patches and 6% for gum when it comes to the most recent attempts of those who quit more than six months ago, so it seems that e-cigarettes are slowly replacing these methods. This is even despite the fact that nicotine patches and gum are prescribed on the NHS and e-cigarettes aren’t.

Saving money felt more by older smokers

The main benefit felt by these ex-smokers is having more money (55%), followed by improved health and fitness (44%) and finding it easier to breathe (38%).

Interestingly, the money aspect rises to 59% among those aged 55 and over, compared with just 39% for those aged 25 to 34. The data indicates that this difference could be because older generations smoked more, most likely because they had more opportunities to do so before it was banned in many spaces. While almost half (48%) of these ex-smokers aged 55 and over smoked more than 15 cigarettes a day, only 15% of 25 to 34 year olds ever smoked this much.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2045 adults, of which 620 were adults that had stopped smoking more than six months ago. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 2nd May 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).