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Vapers’ Plans to Quit are Going up in Smoke 

22 September 2023

Vapers’ Plans to Quit are Going up in Smoke 


New research from Vitality Health Insurance reveals of those surveyed one in six Brits (15%) have started vaping over the past 3 years. And while e-cigarettes were traditionally used to help smokers quit, less than half (47%) of those who have started vaping did so to kick the habit.

Other top reasons for starting vaping were because it is a healthier alternative to smoking (34%), followed by the fact that it provides nicotine without having to smoke (34%), and simply because it tastes nice (26%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, vapers between the ages of 18-24 were most influenced by their friends (22%), and by the notion that vaping ‘looks cool’ (21%).

Worryingly over 1 in 4 (27%) believe vaping is completely risk-free and that it is not addictive (27%). Yet, since starting vaping, 15% of those surveyed have experienced shortness of breath, alongside other concerning side effects including a sore throat (14%), lightheadedness (13%) - and for 1 in 10 people, lower fitness levels (10%). 

While smoking in enclosed public spaces is illegal in the UK, the same restrictions do not apply to vaping. 69% of those surveyed claimed that they vape more because they can do it inside. The most popular places to vape are inside the home (68%), followed by in the car (58%), while 23% say they vape inside the workplace. 

The survey of 1,000 vapers found that of those who started vaping to quit smoking, 68% have successfully managed to do so. However, less than half (46%) of vapers plan on quitting vaping, despite a higher proportion (62%) being worried about the long-term effects on their health.

Of those who have tried to quit vaping, almost a third experienced feelings of irritability (30%) and mood swings (29%). This could be down to the fact almost half of vapers (42%) want to quit but find it physically impossible to break the habit, despite 54% believing that they would feel happier if they stopped. In fact, over half (51%) claim to be more addicted to their vape, than they ever were to their cigarettes.

A whopping 72% of people believe there should be more warning signs on vapes, like there are on cigarettes, to warn people of the side effects. 

To live a healthier lifestyle, breaking bad habits is incredibly important. To support people looking to quit smoking, Vitality provides smoking cessation support all year round via its Pelago (formerly known as Quit Genius) programme. The programme offers invaluable strategies, tools and support to overcome the urge to smoke, without encouraging people to substitute one bad habit for another. 

Katie Tryon, Director of Health Strategy at VitalityHealth shares her expertise on the impact of vaping as well as her top tips to help people quit: “With increasing numbers of people taking up vaping, including previous non-smokers and young people, it’s important to be aware that vaping is not risk-free. It’s becoming increasingly clear that not only is it highly addictive, but it also causes unwanted side effects.  

In line with the government’s recent plans to ban single use vapes, we support greater education around the risks of smoking and vaping, and support for people who want to quit. We encourage people to opt for a nicotine-free lifestyle, in turn, avoiding the likelihood of smoking cigarettes in the future, and the potential health risks that may occur from vaping later in life.

“For anyone making a conscious effort to quit vaping and live a healthier lifestyle, focus on your motivation to quit, and try to address any triggers that may make you want to vape. Whether it’s boredom, stress, socialising, or even just the taste – once you’ve identified the main reason behind why you vape, the better you will be able to develop strategies to manage these feelings.”


Notes to editors
Research was conducted by Opinium among 1,000 UK adults in September 2023


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