Electronic cigarettes have become to go-to option for tobacco smokers in Britain who want to turn a new leaf.
Vapers, or e-cigarette users, have risen to 2.6 million from 2.1 million in 2014.
The Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) campaign group has said that while the numbers are encouraging, the increase I people who believe that e-cigarettes are as dangerous as real cigarettes is worrying.
According to the ASH, an analysis conducted by King’s College London showed that ex-smokers comprised 6.7% of e-cigarette users, up from 4.5% in 2015. However, the amount of smokers stayed the same at 17.6%.
The most popular reason people gave for using e-cigarettes was to help them stop smoking completely (48%) and to prevent them from relapsing (38%).
Nearly 48% of e-cigarette users were using them as a crutch to completely give up smoking; 38% wanted to prevent themselves from relapsing.
While e-cigarettes are intended to help smokers break their addiction, experts are worried non-smokers might use them as a sort of gateway drug to cigarettes.
Another alarming point has been the potentially harmful levels of chemicals in flavorings, along with a study conducted on mice that indicates potential damage to lungs and the immune system from vaping.
Despite all this, Dr. Leonie Brose of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience believes that vaping is somewhat better than traditional smoking.
“We must clearly communicate the relative safety of electronic cigarettes to smokers,” she said.
“The proven harm of tobacco is currently getting less coverage than the much smaller and far less certain harm from electronic cigarettes. We owe it to smokers to provide them with accurate information.”