5 December 2014

Politicians, Electronic Cigarettes and Mystery

Those who follow the electronic cigarette industry will be well aware that it only came to the attention of the mass-market at the turn-of-the-century. Indeed it is just over the last couple of years that governments and regulators around the world have started to take notice. The regulatory system is well behind the development curve of the vaping industry and as such there are many mistruths, rumours and stories which continue to surround the sector.

Are electronic cigarettes a gateway to tobacco cigarettes?
While from a legal standpoint electronic cigarettes cannot be marketed as a quit smoking aid, the figures literally speak for themselves. Politicians and governments around the world have often cited a suggestion that electronic cigarettes are a gateway back to tobacco cigarettes, encouraging those who have never tried tobacco to begin smoking. This is something which has been used time and time again as a means of introducing regulations and new laws to govern the vaping sector. However, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has cast a very different light on this particular subject.
Image from patrisyu of freedigitalphotos.net
Ecigarette users switching from tobacco
The report, which takes in data through to the end of 2013, backs up what the electronic cigarette industry has been saying from day one, the sector is not a gateway to tobacco cigarettes. The ONS has confirmed that less than one in 300 electronic cigarette users have no experience of tobacco smoking. This minuscule number confirms the vast majority of those using electronic cigarettes or vaping devices have switched from their tobacco counterparts.

While some critics will suggest that the data from 2013 is "out of date" it is unlikely to have changed dramatically during 2014 and we are unlikely to see a major shift in the future. This could well give governments and regulators the opportunity to factor in some kind of quit smoking angle to ongoing regulations which have yet to be rubberstamped. It is also interesting to see that the rate at which people are quitting tobacco cigarettes has accelerated since the emergence of electronic cigarettes.

Are there any health implications?
When you bear in mind that electronic cigarettes do not have the 4000+ toxins allegedly part of the modern day tobacco cigarette, even the most ardent of critics readily admit electronic cigarettes are at worst less harmful. The industry, regulators and the general public are all in favour of ongoing medical trials to clarify the long-term health implications although to date no major issues have been confirmed. We have had a number of scare stories, many of which were later withdrawn due to a lack of evidence, which seems to be the general pattern for new technologies.

There are now millions of electronic cigarette users throughout the UK and around the world and the US market is forecast to be worth in excess of $2 billion during 2015. It will be interesting to see how the regulatory structure emerges, whether the quit smoking angle is accepted and perhaps more importantly, what role the tobacco companies have in the future. There are very few major electronic cigarette brands which have not received approaches from the tobacco giants. Whether or not the sector remains fully independent from its tobacco counterpart could play a major role in the way ahead.

For further information about electronic cigarettes please visit the OK Electronic Cigarettes website.


  1. These seem a lot more popular at the minute :)

  2. I smoke and have tried vaping to give up cigarettes, without success i am afraid. I see so many shops opening up near me selling vapes, and worry what is going into these, they all seem to be pretty bogus, chinese imported stuff. However anything that might help people give up tobacco is a great thing.