Middle-aged people in Britain are increasingly taking up vaping, according to latest research, with the biggest rise coming from those aged between 45 and 54.
The number of people vaping in that age group has grown from 13 per cent in 2016 to 20 per cent last year, according to poll by Mintel.
Today’s middle-aged vapers join the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Richard Hammond and Sarah Silverman – all of whom have been spotted vaping whilst out and about.
And while 18 to 24 year olds are the most likely to vape (28 per cent), usage among this group has risen at a slower rate than their middle aged counterparts, increasing from 24 per cent in 2016. Despite this slower growth rate, almost six in 10 (57 per cent) Brits feel that too many young people vape.
19% of people in Britain vape
Today, as many as 19 per cent of people in Britain vape, up from 17 per cent in 2016, with men twice as likely to vape than women.
Sales of e-cigarettes were valued at £283 million in 2018. The market experienced strong growth, increasing 12 per cent from £252 million in 2017.
“Over the last couple of years the proportion of vapers has increased with a particular rise in 45 to 54s, despite public concerns around vaping amongst young people,” said Roshida Khanom, Mintel Associate Director, Beauty & Personal Care.
“This increase in vapers among middle-aged Brits may be reflective of them joining what they consider a fashionable trend. Our previous research shows that 45 to 54s are the age group that are most likely to agree that vaping is fashionable.”
Call for regulation
The research reveals a strong desire for the vaping market to be regulated, with 62 per cent of people calling for more scrutiny in the vaping industry.
More than half (55 per cent) of them feel that vaping is addictive, while 42 per cent believe it is a gateway to smoking – although only one per cent of non-smokers vape.
“It’s interesting that such a high number of people are looking for regulation in the vaping industry, despite the fact that it is already a regulated market. This is driven by the high perception that too many young people vape and that vaping is a gateway to smoking,” said Khanom.
“Vaping is considered addictive by the majority of adults. But whilst the nicotine content in e-cigarettes can be addictive, the NHS describes it as ‘relatively harmless’ – with the dangers of traditional smoking coming from other chemicals in tobacco smoke.”
Trying to cut down
Overall, 21 per cent of smokers tried to cut down on smoking in 2018 compared with 14 per cent in 2016. Meanwhile, 23 per cent of ex-smokers kicked the habit in the 12 months to October 2018 – compared with 20 per cent in the 12 months to October 2016.
Half (47 per cent) of smokers who vape use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking, whilst 38 per cent use these to help them cut down.