Approx. 40,625 smokers are switching to e-cigarettes each month.

MEPs need to stay focussed on the bigger picture

In the UK each year 114,000 people die from tobacco related illnesses according to figures produced by the NHS[1].  Policy makers need to focus on reducing this number.  Conventional nicotine replacement therapies are not tackling this in any significant number, but e-cigarettes could.  Already 1.3 million smokers have switched to e-cigarettes[2].


There are 10 million adult cigarette smokers in Great Britain[3] at present.  The above graph[4] depicts the percentage of tobacco cigarette smokers currently using e-cigarettes.  The graph shows an increase in e-cigarette use from two per cent to 16 per cent in 28 months.  That is a 14 per cent increase in just over two years.  Basing that figure we see that there is a 14 per cent increase over 28 months which works out as an average monthly increase of 0.5 per cent.  This means that at present 40,625 smokers are switching to e-cigarettes each month[5].


Linear Trendline

The above graph (Linear Trendline) depicts the growth in e-cigarettes use on a linear trendline from the present until May 2017 when the revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) will come into force in the UK.  A linear trendline is a consistent average of the figures provided, a simple and best way to forecast on present results.  The graph shows an expected increase in e-cigarette use of 35 per cent by 2017.  The number of vapers will rise from 1,300,000 to 2,843,750; more than double the present number.  This means that of the 10,000,000 current smokers, 30 per cent will be using e-cigarettes by 2017 based on these projections, an increase of 1,543,750 vapers.


 Polynomial Trendline

The above graph (Polynominal Trendline) depicts the growth in e-cigarette use on a polynomial trendline from the present until May 2017.  A polynomial trendline is the best for fluctuating figures with hills present in the graph data and usually based over a large figure set and an increasing growth rate.  Best represents increased growth from the data figures.  The graph shows an expected increase in e-cigarette use of 80 per cent by 2017.  That would mean there would be 6,500,000 vapers in 2017.  A staggering 65 per cent of current smokers would then be vaping.

In a worst case scenario there would be a 35 per cent increase in vapers and in the best case scenario an increase of 80 per cent.  In reality, the actual rise in e-cigarette use is likely to be about half way between these two figures – an increase of 57.5 per cent.  This would mean that in May 2017 there would be 4,671,875 individual vapers.  By contrast the European Commission predicts that at best tobacco control measures contained within the revised TPD would only reduce the 10 million figure by two per cent![6]

MEPs need to stay focussed on this at all costs as this is the real public health prize – a real and significant cut in the number of smokers.  In everything MEPs do relating to the regulation of e-cigarettes they should remain focussed on this bigger picture and not allow themselves to become bogged down in the minutia of regulation.

Article 18 of the TPD, as it currently stands, genuinely puts at risk the positive future outlined above.  We therefore urge all MEPs to support our call, to the President of the European Parliament, to have this file opened up for split and separate votes, so as to allow proper consideration of Article 18 without jeopardising the passage of the wider TPD.


10 thoughts on “Approx. 40,625 smokers are switching to e-cigarettes each month.

  1. Hi, this is an interesting idea, but there are some significant problems with the assumptions and analysis. It’s important for advocates of e-cigs to get this kind of stuff right, because incorrect claims are easy to dismiss and actually end up making your arguments less effective.

    A key problem in what is done here to get the ‘40,625’ number is that you have assumed that *all* current smokers who are currently using e-cigs then go on to switch completely to vaping. This is an unjustified assumption as we know already this is not the case; some smokers do switch upon first experience with e-cigs of course, but many do not. A lot of e-cigarette use among current smokers is transient trial and experimentation that isn’t sustained.

    Probably a better, although still flawed, way to look at it would be to estimate from the growth in e-cig use among people who reported to be ex-smokers, not current smokers.

    Very roughly , in Feb 2012 (from the same source data you use) there were about 170,000 ex-smokers who currently reported use of e-cigs. About a year later in 2013 this had risen to an estimated 390,000 giving an average monthly increase during this period of around 18,000 (not ~40k).

    There are also problems with interpreting this ~18,000 figure: 1) on one hand it could be too high because it assumes all those people would still be smoking were e-cigs not to exist, which is unlikely to be the case as some may have stopped smoking anyway; however 2) it might also underestimate the number of people truly ‘helped’ by e-cigs to become an ex-smoker, because some people stop using e-cigs after they stop smoking so wouldn’t be counted as a current e-cig user in these surveys. So I think it would be wise to to be a little more cautious.

    Finally, forecasting into the future, as done here, is an unreliable art… at the moment nobody really knows whether (even in the absence of any change to regulatory structures) what proportion of current smokers would be satisfied with e-cigarettes instead of smoking in the long term. It might be 25%, 50%, 75%, 95% or anything in between. Obviously, I hope it is higher rather than lower, but we shouldn’t get too carried away with precise forecasting.

  2. Pingback: 40,625 smokers switching to vaping per month in UK

  3. Pingback: Approx. 40,625 smokers are switching to e-cigarettes each month. • The Spinfuel News Blog

  4. Pingback: Dr. Siegal on the UK evidence - vaping has a positive impact on smoking cessation, but ANTZ have a negative impact on vaping

  5. As Rory says,the numbers used are both ex-smokers and dual-fuellers.

    Please be more accurate and helpful like this

    “ASH Wales supports the UK government decision to make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to under 18s and welcomes the development of such legislation in Wales. This is a rapidly growing market, and many brands appear to be marketing directly to young people. Although it may seem that e-cigarettes are slightly safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes, the addictive nicotine and many harmful carcinogens may still be present. For this reason it is important that these products are regulated.”

    Evidence-based hard numbers are crucial

  6. Thanks for this article. It’s a good think that people are more aware and switching to e-cigarettes. What tobacco companies are doing to lie away e-cigs reputation using media is awful.

  7. I agree that more health and safety data need to be generated. At this point, important research around the world is being suppressed, because both sides — Big Tobacco and anti-smoking activists — want e-cigs to succeed. I do too. I love them. But my immersion in Google Scholar indicates that there are so many potential dangers, I will probably have to quit.

    It appears that nicotine is not one of those dangers. My research indicates that e-cigs are a ‘great white hoax’ in that regard: They do not deliver nicotine effectively. They are a wonderful placebo! They give us the pleasure and relaxation of a delicious “smoking behavior” while inconspicuously depriving us of our “drug fix.” It’s really interesting. So now the big things are flavor, heat and vapor volume. It’s become a nice habit, not an addiction.

  8. Pingback: Is it too much to hope that by National No Smoking Day next year, policy makers and public health campaigners will have realised the amazing potential of e-cigarettes? | Save e-cigs

  9. Pingback: Vince and inertiacreeping on Triple J Hack tonight - Page 4

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s