E-cigarettes lose their spark as smoking cessation aids

New research from Mintel has revealed that the number of UK smokers using e-cigarettes to quit smoking is declining.

Over the past two years, the proportion of smokers or former smokers using e-cigarettes to kick the smoking habit in the UK has dropped from 69 per cent in 2014 to 62 per cent in 2016. Meanwhile, the use of other smoking-cessation methods largely remains the same. The top three methods used to quit smoking are e-cigarettes (62 per cent), non-prescription nicotine replacement therapy products (15 per cent) and nicotine replacement gums/patches on prescription from health professionals (14 per cent).

Mintel research indicates that while growth in the value of the e-cigarette sector in the UK has slowed, the smoking-cessation sector is reigniting. Indeed, following a peak in smoking-cessation sales of £136 million ($218 million) in 2013, the market remained static at £127 million ($203 million) between 2014 and 2015. By 2016, growth had returned with sales estimated to have risen by four per cent to reach £132 million ($211 million).

Meanwhile, growth in the value of the e-cigarette sector has tapered off, with a four per cent rise in value in 2014 compared with 300 per cent in 2013. Sales rose by eight per cent in 2015 followed by six per cent in 2016 when the market reached £230 million ($368 million). Overall, consumer usage of e-cigarettes has remained at 17 per cent of smokers since 2014.

Today, men are more likely to smoke than women (35 per cent versus 24 per cent) and younger consumers are more likely to smoke than more mature consumers (47 per cent of 25-34s compared with 18 per cent of over-55s).

Some four in 10 smokers intend to quit in the future, but just over a quarter have no interest in quitting. Meanwhile, 14 per cent are trying to cut down and 14 per cent are currently trying to quit.

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