Sharp increase in the use of high-powered vaporizers, research shows | vape

The use of high-strength nicotine vaporizers has increased significantly over the past three years, according to a study.

Researchers found that in June 2021, only 6.6% of people were using the highest-strength vapes, defined as those near the legal limit of 20 mg/ml of nicotine, but by January 2024 that number had risen to 32.5% of users.

The study, carried out by researchers at UCL, analyzed a survey of 7,314 adults who vape in England to assess how the use of vapes with different nicotine concentrations had changed over that period.

The research, published in the journal Addiction and funded by Cancer Research UK, found the largest increase among vapers aged 18 to 24, rising from 3.9% between July 2016 and June 2021 to 53.1% in 2024.

Researchers warned the government against taxing vaping products based on nicotine concentration, as suggested in the Tobacco and Vaping Bill, despite an increase in the proportion of vapers using high-nicotine products.

Dr Sarah Jackson, lead author of the study, based at the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare, said current plans to tax high-nicotine vapes at a higher rate may make smoking cessation more difficult. be less affordable.

She said: “Our study shows a sharp increase in the use of high-strength nicotine e-liquids in England from 2021.

“Nicotine may be addictive, but it is not what causes the vast majority of harm caused by smoking. For smokers trying to quit, vaping with higher strength nicotine is likely to be more effective, satisfying cravings more quickly and providing better relief from withdrawal symptoms.

“Taxing higher-strength nicotine products at higher rates will make the most effective way to quit smoking less affordable, which can drive vapers toward lower-strength e-liquids and potentially undermine quit attempts.” . Of smokers who had quit smoking in the past year and were vaping, we found that about 40% reported using those products that would attract the highest proposed tax rate.”

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Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health and co-author of the study, said: “The best way to curb underage vaping is to make all vaporizers less attractive and increase the price at the point of sale, either let it be its nicotine content.

“Those are the policies that will be most effective in preventing children from starting to vape. However, if we also want to ensure that vaporizers remain an effective smoking cessation tool for adults, smokers should not be discouraged from using vaporizers with higher nicotine content, which are likely to be more effective smoking cessation aids.” .

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