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Going up in smoke: vaping is stubbing out the tobacco industry

By on 06/08/2015

Going up in smoke: vaping is stubbing out the tobacco industry

Not very long ago, tobacco and cigarettes were revered as the height of social pastimes – we've all seen those vintage adverts with the glamorous cigarette women and dapper Don Draper-types. Long before we understood the serious risks smoking posed, cigarettes were even hailed as beneficial to our health!

In 1990, the tobacco industry made over £100 million. 19 years later, that figure was almost halved to just £58 million. In 2012, 19% of the UK population was smoking; this tumbled to 18% the following year. Slowly but surely, people are spending less of their money on tobacco products. But could this steady decline in sales be directly related to the rising popularity of e-cigarettes - and more recently, vaporisers?

According to a study by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), an estimated 2.6 million adults regularly use e-cigarettes. In 2010, 2.7% of people vaped – a figure that sprang up to 17.6% by 2014. Only 7% of non-smokers, and 5% of smokers had never heard of e-cigarettes.

The question of why e-cigs are taking the lead over tobacco products isn't hard to answer. We live in an increasingly health-conscious society. When asked why they use e-cigarettes and vaporisers instead of conventional cigarettes, an answer that continuously appears amongst users is “they help me to stop smoking”. The NHS openly admits that 80,000 preventable deaths a year occur as a result of smoking, and smoking costs the health service £5 billion a year.

Now more than ever the government is cracking down on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco and emphasising just how detrimental smoking can be to our health through gory images on packaging. In 2012, supermarkets were banned from displaying cigarettes openly and were forced to hide them behind screens or under counters – an order that was implemented in smaller, local shops in 2015.

So could the tobacco industry ever be completely forced out of play? It’s hard to imagine it happening, but with the electronic cigarette industry showing no sign of slowing down, it might not be long before the tobacco market is stubbed out entirely.

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