In 2016 the Independent reported on the NHS research from University College London (UCL) and Cancer research UK. The research found the steady rise in vaping has helped thousands quit traditional cigarettes.

Updated 2021. Since that time the NHS has become more and more involved with promoting smoking cessation with particular focus around the benefits of vaping. A recent PHE studies show how vaping in combination with help from smoking advisers and licensed medicine contributed too an overall quit rate exceeding 70% whilst vaping on its own had a 60% quit rate.

A randomised controlled English Stop smoking services trial demonstrated that vaping coupled with behavioural support could double the chances of quitting smoking “compared to nicotine replacement therapy and behavioural support.

In the UK, it’s estimated that vaping is the most popular aid when it comes to giving up smoking, with an estimated 2.7 million people using e cigarettes to kick the habit. vape research estimates that e-cigarettes are actually 95% safer than tobacco cigarettes. The publication “UK smoke-free 2030 goal” further outlines a new ambition to go smoke-free in England by 2030. Smokers need to pay attention and consider this. At some stage if the goal is to be achieved, either quitting or using alternative methods like vaping need to be considered.

Where did the NHS find this information?

This new information shared by the NHS was published in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal (BMJ). As this is on an open access basis, you can read it all free here. More recent vape reports and studies can be found on the site

Whilst these article continues to say although the long-term effects are still uncertain, many other organisations (such as PHE) back up the evidence that e-cigarettes are undoubtedly safer than tobacco cigarettes.

What kind of research was this?

This research collected was data from various cross-sectional surveys. The NHS explain that this type of research has been able to assess the changes in smoking over the years, and whether e-cigarettes are linked to quitting rates.

Although this type of study cannot actually prove the cause and effect, it is useful in other aspects, particularly when looking at trends and policies across the population.

Robert West, co-author of the study and Professor of Health Psychology at University College, London said “We estimate for every 10,000 people who used an e-cigarette to quit, there are approximately 580 people who would have quit regardless.”

What were some key findings?

Here are the key findings the NHS picked out:

  • Over the study period, there was an increase in the success rate of those who reported an attempt to quit (from 10.6% in the last quarter of 2006 to 18.6% in the first quarter of 2015).
  • Meanwhile, while use of e-cigarettes among smokers was negligible in the last quarter of 2006, it rose to 21.3% at the end of the study.
  • Use of e-cigarettes during an attempt to quit also rose sharply from nothing to 35% by 2015.
  • More recent Department of Health findings show smoking prevalence has substantially reduced; from 20.2% in 2011 to 15.5% now which is the lowest level since records began.
  • The 2020 data from Public Health England and stop smoking services in England “suggests that when a vaping product is used in a quit attempt, either alone or with licensed medication, success rates are comparable to, if not higher than, licensed medication alone.

In Conclusion

The studies ultimately found those who use NHS stop smoking services are more likely to quit. However, many people don’t use these services and instead opt to quit successfully with nicotine patches and/or e-cigarettes.

Professor Linda Bauld, the chairwoman in cancer prevention at Cancer Research UK, said the research “suggests many people are using e-cigarettes rather than other available options to stop smoking, and for a significant number they are working”.

She continues to say “This is a positive choice and we should promote it.”