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Vape in the UK? – Over 2,000,000!
Despite the fact that electronic cigarettes seem to get a very mixed press in the UK, the Welsh government is looking at a public ban and rumours persist of an electronic cigarette tax, the number of regular electronic cigarette users continues to grow. If we look back to 2012 there were 700,000 electronic cigarette users in the UK, rising to 1.3 million in 2013 and recently hitting a high of 2.1 million in 2014. There is no doubt that the take-up of electronic cigarettes is gathering pace across the UK and there are a number of issues prompting this.
We will now take a look at some of the factors which seem to be impacting the number of electronic cigarette users in the UK and should continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Vape For Perceived Benefits
While officially electronic cigarettes cannot be marketed as medical tools, or indeed smoke cessation devices, there is no doubt that many electronic cigarette users are former tobacco cigarette addicts. Indeed some experts believe that this figure is around 90% and that many former tobacco cigarette smokers are finding their electronic cigarette counterparts an ideal way to cut back or even end their tobacco intake.
The subject of health benefits is something which continues to grab the headlines with all parties in full agreement that there need to be more long-term medical trials. There are a number of trials underway in the UK, and around the world, and the results of this research will be released into the public domain as time goes by. So far the general consensus is that electronic cigarettes are “at worst” less harmful than their tobacco cigarette counterparts but to what extent will be clarified in due course.
Beating the Smoking Ban – Vape!
At this moment in time electronic cigarettes in the UK do not come under the banner of the smoking ban and therefore in theory you can use them in public places. The reality is that some establishments have implemented restrictions or even banned electronic cigarettes because of potential conflict with tobacco cigarette users. However, there are still many areas in which electronic cigarettes are allowed while tobacco cigarettes are still banned.
The issue of electronic cigarettes and the tobacco cigarette smoking ban will certainly be discussed going forward and we will see definitive rulings from governments, regulators and local authorities. Whether indeed electronic cigarettes will come under the same banner as tobacco cigarettes, with regard to public use, remains to be seen with many experts suggesting there needs to be a balance between encouraging electronic cigarettes and regulating their use. As the number of electronic cigarette users in the UK continues to rise this is creating a growing momentum and in many ways creating a political headache for the government and local authorities around the country.
Cost savings when you vape
While it depends which brand of electronic cigarette you prefer, and indeed whether you go for disposables or rechargeables, there are significant cost savings to be made against the cost of tobacco cigarettes. This is also the subject of much debate because as electronic cigarette use continues to grow, tobacco cigarette use continues to fall and government tobacco taxes reduce, there is an emerging conflict of interests for the authorities. There has been talk of electronic cigarette taxes in some countries around the world although at this moment in time the UK government has no plans to implement such a strategy. Will this change in the future?
We have seen the number of electronic cigarette users in the UK treble over the last three years and many people believe this is just the tip of the iceberg. The US market is forecast to grow from a turnover of around $1 billion in 2013 to in excess of $5 billion in 2015. Whether or not we will see the same level of growth in the UK remains to be seen but there is no doubt ecigs are becoming more popular.
We can only imagine how popular electronic cigarettes might be if there was less criticism in the mass media and a more balanced debate about their pros and cons?
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Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a level headed approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on electronic cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website