Quitters are increasingly turning away from less effective traditional Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) smoking cessation methods, though a continued decline in the smoking rate highlights the success of vaping for cigarette smoking cessation.

According to the latest Public Health England (PHE) data, the number of smokers setting a quit date using traditional NRTs through the NHS Stop Smoking Services hit a record low of 3.5% in 19/20, down from 7.3% in 13/14. That’s a 52% drop in six years. The figures show that just 1.8% of smokers using the service successfully quit after four weeks in 2019/20. This represents a 51% decrease from 13/14.

Despite this, the percentage of people in England smoking has continued to fall, and currently sits at an all-time low of 13.9%. The new data highlights the ever increasing role of vaping as a smoking cessation tool, with people increasingly taking smoking cessation into their own hands.

The number of ex-smokers who now vape has risen from 11.7% to 12.3%.

The PHE data comes as a new study warns quitting smokers of the potential for relapsing this Christmas — alcohol is the third-most common factor in cigarette cravings, according to the Quitting Smoking for Mental Health Study conducted by the UK's largest online vaping retailer, Vape Club. 25% of ex-smokers state cravings are at their strongest when drinking alcohol.

Ex-smokers highlight the greatest causes of cravings

Alcohol follows mental health pressures as the leading triggers for cravings. Cited by 40.8% of study respondents, stress is the strongest driver of temptation, followed by anxiety (28.9%). Such issues have been acutely felt during the pandemic, with mental health charity Mind finding that 60% of adults suffered more mental health problems during lockdowns. See the full study here.

Other significant factors include socialising with active smokers, which affects 19% of ex-smokers, and depression, which tempts 17% of respondents to light up.

From your experience, when do you most get cigarette cravings? (Select up to three)



When stressed



When anxious



When drinking alcohol – out with friends/family



While out with active smokers



When depressed



I do not get cigarette cravings



When lonely



When drinking alcohol – at home



When suffering workplace burnout



When experiencing an episode of poor mental health




Dan Marchant, founding UKVIA member and director at Vape Club, says:

“With the New Year coming we’d expect to see plenty of new years resolutions to finally quit smoking for good.  The figures show us that if people are intending to quit, they will be turning to newer forms of alternative nicotine delivery and smoking cessation methods"

“Of course, Christmas is always a difficult time to do it: for numerous reasons. There’s lots of socialising and drinking at this time of year, which naturally leads to smoking for some people. Others might find it a stressful time, when families can easily get caught up in little arguments. The other thing is that many people will see Christmas as their last hurrah before quitting in the New Year. So if people are aiming to quit right now, they should bear in mind that it’ll take lots of willpower.

"Studies have shown that vaping is far more effective than old fashioned NRT’s at enabling smokers to quit.  And with the recent news from the NHS that they hope to soon be prescribing vaping products to people looking to ditch the habit, we hope that many more smokers will benefit from the incredible harm reduction potential of vaping, and leave cigarettes behind."

Dr Zirva Khan, a GP in North Staffordshire’s Loomer Road Surgery, says:

“Unfortunately because of the pandemic, many healthy lifestyle changes people had started to make including smoking cessation, abruptly came to a halt. Education needs to be holistic, and not just focussed on the health benefits, but social and financial advantages too. Another big issue to tackle is that smoking cessation services need to be accessible. Services have become centralised and there is no incentive for people, employers or organisations to tackle smoking cessation. Smoking cessation services ideally should also be trained to signpost people who access them to other relevant services to tackle the underlying reason of why they are smoking. For some it is indeed a choice, for many others it’s their escape from their difficulties”.

-Article Provided by Distinctly PR