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UK Insights

Rise of e-cigarettes in Britain

Claire Davies

Former editor and head of content

Health 29.05.2015 / 10:40


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Smoking data for World No Tobacco Day 2015

Data from Kantar Media TGI shows 6.7% of the British population are now smoking e-cigarettes, this is almost double the percentage of people using them in France (3.4%) and considerably more than in Spain (2.6%).

We can see the number of British people smoking e-cigarettes has doubled since 2013, when 3.0% of the population said they were using them.

When we compare e-cigarette usage with regular cigarette usage, it still far less popular. The percentage of people who say they smoke regular cigarettes in the UK stands at 17.4%, down from 21.1% in 2013 and 22.3% in 2011.

Every year, The World Health Organisation (WHO) marks World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), to "highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption."

WHO estimates the e-cigarette industry has grown from "just one manufacturer in China in 2005 to an estimated $3 billion global business". A report by WHO in 2014 explains that "while additional research is needed on multiple areas of e-cigarette use, regulations are required to address health concerns", in particular:

  • E-cigarette advertising: to ensure that it does not target young people, non-smokers or people who don't currently use nicotine.
  • Indoor use: legal steps should be taken to end use of e-cigarettes indoors in public and work places. Evidence suggests that exhaled e-cigarette aerosol increases the background air level of some toxicants, nicotine and particles.

Read more from the World Health Organisation on e-cigarettes, or check out our article on Kantar US Insights about smoking habits in the US.

Source : Kantar Health, Kantar Media, Kantar

Editor's Notes

The Kantar Media TGI data in the chart above, does not include data for e-cigarette use in 2011. The data is taken from a sample of 24,506 people in 2015, 23,593 in 2013 and 24,020 in 2011. People were asked 'Do you smoke cigarettes' and 'Do you smoke e-cigarettes.'

Journalists, for more information, for additional data for your story, please contact us.

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