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Vaping statistic in the UK 2019 and 2020

Vaping, or on its official name ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems), is becoming popular worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, since 2011, about 7 million people vaping worldwide. In 2018 this increased to 41 million. By the end of 2021, this number is estimated to be 55 million.

Vaping sales reached $14 billion in 2019, and they are expected to reach $40 billion by 2023 and $45 billion by 2026 with a growth rate of 17% (CAGR). However, there are different predictions in terms of this percentage. Some say that growth will be estimated by 7% each year, and some expect this to be 23.8% between 2020-2027. These are partially depending on regulations, bans, and other smoking habits.

The largest consumers of vaping are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Combined, vapers spent more than around $10billion (Ł8 billion) on vaping and smokeless tobacco products in 2018.

United Kingdom

In terms of the United Kingdom, the NHS’s ( National Health Services) general attitude shows that they prefer and suggest vaping as an alternative to smoking. Noone claims that vaping does not have risks or that it is not addictive, but it is used in several cases to quit smoking.

In the vaping in England: 2020 evidence update summary published on the 4th March 2020, the following can be read:

· „vaping regulated nicotine products have a small fraction of the risks of smoking, but this does not mean it is safe

· smokers should be encouraged to try regulated nicotine vaping products along with smoking cessation medications and behavioral support. This will greatly increase their chances of successfully stopping smoking

· people who have never smoked should be encouraged not to smoke and not to vape

· vapers should be encouraged to use regulated nicotine products only and stop smoking completely.”

In 2019 in the UK, 15% of over 18s smoked, and 5.5% vaped. Current records show that smoking is responsible for 96000 death all over the UK (2019 data), and smoke-related diseases cost over Ł2 billion a year for the NHS ( National Health System).

Vaping statistics in the UK

Let us go into a little bit more detail about UK and vaping statistics. After thorough research, we found who conducted an excellent survey with details on all aspects of vaping.

Since 2012 when the number of e-cigarette users was 700.000, the number of people using vaping products increased to 3.6 billion. This is a 5.4% increase between 2012-2019. In 2020 this general growth stopped, and overall, the population using e cigs was 6.3% which is a 0.8% decrease compared to 2019.

Who uses e cigarettes?

The main age group who use e cigarettes is between 35-54 years (9.4%). The next group, with 7.3%, is aged between 25-34 years. Young adults aged between 18-24 are at a rate of 4.3%, and over 55s are the lowest with 5.6%.

On the government website, we can also read about the age group between 11-18. It states that in 2019 the prevalence showed 5% of them using vaping products. This number had halved since 2009 when the percentage of vapers amongst young children was 11%. Since 2014 however, it shows a steady 5%.

In terms of gender, there is not much difference between female and male users, according to the statistics. Around 7.3% of males and 6.9% of female vapers use e cigarettes.

Smokers and ex-smokers

Smoking among adults has decreased in England over the past ten years, and by 2019 it was around 15%. This is equivalent to 7.7 million people smoking in 2011 and 5.7 million people smoking in 2019. Partially tobacco control that was implemented around this time can be why a study called Smoking Toolkit Study showed an association between the changes in the number of smokers and e cigarette users. We could say that vaping has given approximately 70.000 ex-smokers to the United Kingdom. 

This makes my following statement quite obvious: vaping is mainly common between smokers and ex-smokers. Generally speaking, e cigarette users have three main reasons for starting on vape products: They wish to quit smoking ( 30%), they wish to prevent relapse ( 20%), and they want to cut down on the number of cigarettes smoked (11%). Also, the pleasure factor and money-saving take a big in this decision.

Even though e cigarettes are on the market for quite a long time, some smokers still do not believe it would benefit them. 32.4% of smokers have not yet tried e cigarettes as some believe it is the same addiction like smoking or do not know enough about it and are worried about its effect on them.


The vaping and e cigarette market is segmented into disposable, rechargeable, and modular devices in terms of product. In 2019 most vapers said that they use only one device, which is mainly tank systems. In 2020 ¾ of vapers said they were using a tank system, with 1 in 5 using rechargeable e cigarettes with prefilled, replaceable cartridges and 2% used disposable products.

As we can see, vaping has significantly developed over the years and shows a growing tendency in users. There is also a fast increasing awareness amongst the population, especially younger age groups, about e cigarettes being a better alternative to smoking. More and more vaping shops open, and with the Covid hopefully ending with the vaccination, they can reopen and get back on track in terms of sales.

Worldwide there is a continuous development of products and technical improvements making e cigarettes more enjoyable.

In the UK, as we saw from the government’s statements, they prefer vaping instead of smoking and are trying to move the population o smokers in this direction. One of the steps towards this goal is that the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR) gets reviewed by May 2021.  


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