England-wide survey confirms e-cigarette use confined largely to smokers

Wednesday 10 December 2014

For the first time, the annual Health Survey for England published today has included questions on electronic cigarette use among both adults and children. [1] The results show that among adults 29% of current smokers and 6% of ex-smokers reported ever using e-cigarettes while just 1% of never smokers said they had used the devices. Among children the survey found only very small numbers of children aged 13-15 who had used electronic cigarettes. These results are broadly similar to the findings of the ONS Opinions and Lifestyle Survey published last month and the ASH commissioned YouGov survey conducted in March. [2] [3]

Although the survey reported a 1% rise in adult smoking rates this is not a significant change. The report notes that the much larger Integrated Household Survey and Opinions and Lifestyle Surveys show that overall smoking rates in England are continuing to fall.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:

“It is encouraging that the latest government research shows use of electronic cigarettes is concentrated among smokers with very few children using the devices. This is in line with other national surveys. While it is clearly important to continue to monitor both smoking rates and use of electronic cigarettes in adults and children
so far there is no evidence that use of electronic cigarettes is proving to be a gateway into smoking.”

Notes and Links:

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash
ASH receives funding from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

[1] Health Survey for England, 2013. http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB16076
[2] Opinions and Lifestyle Survey 2013
[3] YouGov. Total sample size was 12,269 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th and 13th March 2014. The survey found that 17.6% of current smokers were using e-cigarettes while usage among never smokers was less than 1%.
YouGov. Survey of young people. Total sample size was 2,068 children aged 11 to 18. Fieldwork was undertaken 21st March – 1st April 2014.

Contact: Deborah Arnott 020 7404 0242 (w) or 07976 935 987 (m)