Over half of British smokers now believe vapes are just as harmful as cigarettes

British smokers are losing trust in vapes – with more than half now believing they’re just as, or more, harmful than cigarettes.

A poll of 2,000 smokers revealed a growing distrust in switching to vapes, which could hit plans to make smoking obsolete in the UK.

Nearly four in 10 (38 per cent), who lack trust, say it could stop them from attempting to quit their smoking habits through vaping in the future.

The government’s independent Kahn Review said vaping had a central role to play in a smoke free future across the country, with more than six and half million smokers still in the UK.

And evidence last year, by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), reconfirmed that vaping was at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking.

But 29 per cent only trust vaping a little as a method to quit smoking, while 13 per cent do not trust it at all.

And of those whose trust is diminishing, 35 per cent cite the lack of independent long term clinical research showing vaping to be less harmful than smoking.

With 31 per cent concerned about the lack of any information available about the harm profile of different vape products.

Dr. Chenxing Pei, senior aerosol engineer at inhalation tech company SMOORE, which commissioned the research, said: ‘There’s a major push to get smokers to move to vape products, but as of now, they just do not have all the information they need to make an informed decision to switch.

‘It’s vital smokers are confident enough to switch, especially since health minister Neil O’Brien said the government must “exploit the huge potential of vaping to help adult smokers to quit”.

‘But reducing or quitting is incredibly difficult, it’s imperative to give them the belief that what they are attempting isn’t going to be a waste of time.

‘And if vaping is to be viewed as a credible way to quit, urgent efforts need to be made to ensure smokers trust these products to have the desired impact.’

The research also revealed how trust among these smokers could be regained, with 30 per cent claiming public health campaigns promoting the evidence-based facts could turn the tide.

Better education of doctors to give more advice on how vaping can be an effective way to reduce harm caused by smoking, was cited as another key way to build trust.

While 21 per cent would welcome advertising regulations for vaping companies to be lifted – as long as they are promoting evidence from credible sources.

But confusion persists among 68 per cent of smokers when it comes to understanding which products would be suitable to help quit.

And 70 per cent now ‘don’t know who to believe’ when it comes to vape products.

Many are looking for clarification about the chemical constituents, carbon residues and heavy metal content in their vapes.

However, of those who smoke and vape, 74 per cent initially started to reduce their reliance on cigarettes, with 58 per cent of these claiming they were successful.

Dr Pei added: ‘Government statistics last year showed that the proportion of smokers in the UK was at its lowest level since records began a decline, which was attributed largely to the major role played by vapes.

‘However, the findings of this study highlight a significant trust gap amongst adult smokers and it’s crucial for the vaping industry, government, regulators and the healthcare profession to come together to bridge it and support smokers on their quitting journey.

‘It’s clear that open and transparent communication is essential in this process and to supporting the government’s ambitions for the country to go smoke free.’

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