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The Rise of E-Cigarettes: A Study on England's Smokers

A new study conducted by researchers at Brunel University London has suggested that England's adult smokers are increasingly switching to e-cigarettes. According to the study, between 2019 and 2021, 13.6% of people aged 18 and over smoked. The study also found that the lowest rate of smokers was in the South East region (12.2%), while the highest was in the North East and Yorkshire (15%).


The study further suggests that if 50% of these smokers were to switch to vaping, hospital admissions could be reduced by 13%, resulting in savings of £518 million. The calculations take into account data on smoking-related deaths, ward costs, and the risks associated with developing various diseases.


In the North East and Yorkshire alone, it is estimated that half of the smokers switching to e-cigarettes could save £148 million. However, Professor Francesco Moscone, who led the study, notes that the long-term effects of vaping are still unknown, even though previous research has shown a significant reduction in exposure to harmful chemicals.


The UK government has been working towards making England "smoke-free" by 2030 and launched a campaign called "swap to stop" in April, offering one million smokers e-cigarettes to encourage them to quit tobacco. E-cigarettes in the UK typically cost around £25, with prices ranging from £14.99 to £34.99.


According to Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), approximately 9.1% (4.7 million) of adults in Britain currently vape, with 2.7 million being ex-smokers, 1.7 million being current smokers, and 320,000 having never smoked. However, a recent poll by YouGov found that 43% of respondents believed that vaping is as dangerous or even more dangerous than smoking.


There have also been concerns about the increasing use of e-cigarettes by young people, leading to calls for tighter regulations on marketing and packaging. The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) acknowledges that vaping is a preferable alternative to smoking for adults but expresses concerns about the rise in youth vaping.