Vaping in the UK: Current Affairs and Trends Backed by Statistics

Vaping has been a hot topic in the UK, with ongoing discussions about its role in public health, regulations, and societal impacts. As we navigate 2024, it's important to understand the current landscape of vaping in the UK, supported by recent statistics and data. This blog will delve into the latest trends, regulatory changes, and public health perspectives on vaping in the UK.

The Rise of Vaping: A Statistical Overview

Vaping has seen significant growth in the UK over the past decade. According to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the number of vapers in the UK increased from about 700,000 in 2012 to 3.6 million in 2023. This rise reflects a broader trend towards vaping as an alternative to traditional smoking.

Vaping Statistics at a Glance:

  • **Current Vapers**: 3.6 million (2023)
  • **Former Smokers**: Approximately 1.7 million vapers are former smokers who switched to vaping.
  • **Dual Users**: Around 1.3 million people smoke and vape.
  • **Never Smokers**: About 200,000 vapers have never smoked.
Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain 2023
Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain 2023

Regulatory Landscape and Recent Changes

The UK government has implemented several regulations to ensure the safe use of vaping products while discouraging their use among minors. The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) is the primary legislative framework governing vaping products in the UK.

Recent Regulatory Proposals:

  • **Flavour Restrictions**: In response to concerns about youth vaping, there have been proposals to restrict or ban certain flavours that may appeal to younger audiences.
  • **Advertising Restrictions**: Stricter advertising regulations are being considered to prevent the promotion of vaping products to minors.
  • **Online Sales**: Enhancements to online sales regulations aim to ensure robust age verification processes to prevent underage purchases.

Public Health Perspectives

Vaping is widely considered less harmful than smoking, but public health experts emphasise the need for cautious optimism. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) supports vaping as a smoking cessation tool, but it also highlights the importance of monitoring long-term health effects.

Key Public Health Findings:

  • **Smoking Cessation**: Public Health England (PHE) reports that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking and can be an effective tool for smoking cessation.
  • **Youth Vaping**: Data from the NHS Digital shows a slight increase in youth vaping, with 8.6% of 11-15 year-olds having tried vaping in 2022, up from 6.7% in 2018.

The Economic Impact of Vaping

Vaping also has significant economic implications in the UK. The industry supports thousands of jobs and contributes to the economy through sales of devices, e-liquids, and accessories.

Economic Contributions:

  • **Market Value**: The UK vaping market was valued at £2.3 billion in 2023.
  • **Employment**: The industry supports over 18,000 jobs across manufacturing, retail, and distribution sectors.

Community Engagement and Advocacy

Various advocacy groups and organisations play a pivotal role in shaping the vaping discourse in the UK. Groups like the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) and consumer advocacy organisations work to ensure balanced regulations and promote public awareness about the benefits and risks of vaping.

Looking Ahead

The future of vaping in the UK will likely be shaped by ongoing research, regulatory changes, and public health campaigns. As more data becomes available, policymakers and public health officials will need to strike a balance between promoting vaping as a harm reduction tool and mitigating potential risks, especially among youth.


Vaping continues to be a dynamic and evolving issue in the UK, with significant implications for public health, regulation, and the economy. By staying informed through reliable statistics and ongoing research, stakeholders can contribute to a balanced approach that maximises benefits and minimises risks.


  1. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Reports
  2. Public Health England (PHE) Publications
  3. NHS Digital Youth Smoking and Vaping Survey
  4. UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) Reports

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