What big tobacco needs to know about the UK's e-cigarette smokers

World Health Organisation Calls For Regulation Of Ecigarettes
He may be smoking indoors - but his loyalty is questionable (Source: Getty)

We all know that as the number of smokers falls, big tobacco is scrambling to get into the e-cigarette market.

But figures from the Office for National Statistics, published this morning, showed while vapers are a growing community, their loyalty is questionable...

Here's what big tobacco needs to know.

1. Traditional smoking is A Thing

Some 2.2 million people currently use personal vapours in Great Britain. That’s still six times less than traditional cigarette smokers, who now account for 19 per cent of the adult population.

2. E-cigarette users are fickle

Only a quarter of Brits who tried e-cigarettes kept using them.

And while the main target audience seems to be millennials, who are twice more likely to give the new technology a try, only one in five of this bunch stuck to an e-cigarette, while a third of women over 35 and men over 45 kept on using them.

3. Current smokers don't love e-cigarettes

A third of current smokers have strong preconceptions against the idea of an electronic cigarette - and while almost all of the rest have tried, most didn’t like it. Only 15 per cent said they use personal vapours - and do so interchangeably with normal cigarettes.

Still, for some eight per cent of current smokers it’s still terra incognita, which creates a market of almost a million potential buyers.

By contrast, more than a third of ex-cigarette smokers liked the new device – although less than 20 per cent have tried.

4. Quitting smoking isn't the only reason people choose e-cigarettes

The majority of British adults know using e-cigarettes is a good way to quit smoking. But this is far not the only reason to try.

Some 15 per cent of smokers said they valued the freedom of using e-cigarettes in public spaces. Probably because three quarters perceived the new technology as harmless (as opposed to 40 per cent of non-smokers, who didn't want to be exposed to any kind of smoke, even vanilla-cherry-salted caramel-flavoured...).

Just under a third of ex-cigarette smokers said they also hoped to get a bit healthier by using liquid nicotine. For nine per cent of people price was also a factor, especially as e-cigarettes are becoming cheaper.

5. Don't discount non-smokers

Those who’ve never tried a cigarette shouldn’t be excluded from the target audience. Almost 10 per cent of those surveyed said they fancied trying a vape pen "for novelty".

A few more tips for e-cigarette advertisers. Users preferred personal vapours that didn't resemble cigarettes. And while men still choose strong to medium varieties, while women went for low to medium.

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