Electronic cigarettes were the 10th fastest growing product of 2016, growing almost £30m in sales, an increase of 20 per cent to £174.6m, a new study by Nielsen found.
As the product's popularity surged, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released his first government review earlier this month. Murthy cautioned against the use e-cigarettes, saying they posed a public health concern for America's youth.
A new study by UK researchers casts doubt on Murthy's claim that there is a link between the popularity of e-cigarettes and a desire to smoke among young people.
The study was conducted by the Glasgow-based Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR).
The centre found the vast majority, 96 per cent, of responses by non-smokers aged 16 to 29 showed young people clearly differentiate between traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes, with most considering vaping as a way to quit or reduce tobacco consumption.
After seeing vapour products used in public, respondents had no change in their desire to smoke, and some said e-cigarettes made smoking even less appealing.
Dr Neil McKeganey, director of CSUR said:
While the study suggests more people now consider vaping to be a ‘normal’ activity, it also shows that there is no basis for regulating e-cigarettes based on a fear they are making smoking more attractive, because this fear is clearly unfounded.
E-cigarettes have been called at least 95 per cent safer than traditional tobacco by Public Health England, and that view that is supported by other British public health and tobacco-control groups, including Action on Smoking and Health UK and Cancer Research UK.
A spokesperson from the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) said:
We believe that the marketing, advertising and promotion of vaping products should be directly solely at smokers, a large majority of whom are recognised as wanting to find an alternative to cigarettes.”