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Four in ten smokers wrongly believe that vaping is as or more harmful as smoking

12/21/2023, 8:43:47 AM 2237

Four in ten smokers wrongly believe that vaping is as or more harmful as smoking

The latest ASH annual survey data show that in 2023:

  • Four in ten smokers (39%) in Great Britain now believe vaping is as or more risky compared with smoking up from a third last year;
  • 1.8 million smokers (27%) have never tried vaping even though it’s a very effective quitting aid
  • And 2.9 million smokers have tried vaping but stopped

Earlier this year, the government announced a national ‘Swap to Stop’ campaign to provide 1 million smokers with a free vaping starter kit along with behavioral support to help them quit. Vaping combined with behavioral support is almost twice as effective as nicotine replacement therapy.

so this evidence-based strategy could play a significant role in achieving the government’s Smokefree 2030 goal.

However, the success of ‘swap to stop’ is threatened by growing concerns among smokers that vaping is as or more risky then smoking.

Among the 1.8 million smokers who are yet to try vaping 43% believe e-cigarettes are as harmful or more than smoking up from 27% in 2019.

Among the 2.9 million smokers who have tried vaping but stopped, 44% believe vaping is as harmful or more than smoking up from 25% in 2019. The most accurate risk perceptions are among the 2.7 million ex-smokers who vape and 2.9 million ex-smokers who are ex-vapers, 75% and 45% of whom correctly believe that vaping is less harmful than smoking.

Quitting smoking and vaping

Health services in the United Kingdom recommend that vaping can be an effective tool for smoking cessation. In addition, in 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source approved the marketing of three e-cigarette products, specifically citing their potential benefit in helping people quit smoking.

However, the CDCTrusted Source states that there is insufficient evidence to suggest that vaping can help people quit smoking.

Using vapes to quit smoking

found that daily e-cigarette usage among tobacco smokers can increase the likelihood of quitting smoking by eightfold. Researchers assessed data from the 2014­–2019 Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study, focusing on smokers who were not planning to quit smoking at the start of the period.

At the end of the survey, 28% of smokers using e-cigarettes daily had ceased smoking tobacco altogether, while 45.5% had ceased smoking tobacco daily.

However, researchers found that only daily e-cigarette use had a statistically significant effect on smoking cessation rates.

Of the participants who were not using e-cigarettes, only 5.8% had quit smoking altogether by the end of the survey, while 9.9% had stopped smoking daily.

Meanwhile, people who were smoking e-cigarettes non-daily had a 3.1% rate of quitting smoking and a 10.2% rate of cutting down to non-daily tobacco smoking.


Vaping and smoking have similar negative effects on the body, such as lung damage and increased risk of cancer.

Researchers know more about the long-term effects of smoking than they do about vaping. However, vaping products contain far fewer harmful chemicals than cigarettes and can be an effective way to quit smoking altogether.

However, while vaping products can reduce the amount of tar and other chemicals a person inhales, they can increase a person’s nicotine dependence.