Middle-aged Brits are increasingly taking up vaping, according to the latest research from market intelligence agency Mintel, with the biggest rise coming from Brits aged 45-54, up from 13% in 2016 to 20% in 2018.
And while 18- to 24-year-olds are the most likely to vape (28%), usage among this group has risen at a slower rate than their middle-aged counterparts, increasing from 24% in 2016. Despite this slower growth rate, almost six in ten (57%) Brits feel that too many young people vape.
Today, as many as one in five (19%) Brits vape, up from 17% in 2016, with men (26%) twice as likely to vape than women 13%.
Sales of e-cigarettes are performing well, despite the slowdown in sales in 2016. Valued at £283 million in 2018, the market experienced strong growth increasing 12% from £252 million in 2017.
“Over the last couple of years the proportion of vapers has increased with a particular rise in 45-54s, despite public concerns around vaping amongst young people,” says Roshida Khanom, Mintel associate director, beauty and 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 45-54s are the age group that are most likely to agree that vaping is fashionable (71%).”
Call for regulation in a regulated industry
The research reveals a strong desire for the vaping market to be regulated, with 62% of Brits looking for regulation in the vaping industry. More than half (55%) of Brits feel that vaping is addictive, while 42% believe it is a gateway to smoking. But interestingly, only 1% of nonsmokers vape, suggesting that whilst the perception that vaping can lead to smoking is high, in reality few nonsmokers even take up vaping.
“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,” adds Khanom. “This is driven by the high perception that too many young people vape and that vaping is a gateway to smoking. 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.”
Decline of the smoking cessation market
Overall, 21% of smokers tried to cut down on smoking in 2018 compared with 14% in 2016. Meanwhile, 23% of ex-smokers kicked the habit in the 12 months to October 2018—compared with 20% in the 12 months to October 2016.
Approximately half (47%) of smokers who vape use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking, whilst 38% use these to help them cut down.
While the e-cigarette market has returned to growth, 2018 saw the smoking cessation market decline by an estimated 2% to reach £145 million, from £148 million in 2017.
“The smoking cessation category is estimated to have declined in value in 2018, as the sector struggles to compete against the fast-growing e-cigarette category,” Khanom says. “Smoking cessation has seen no breakthrough innovation in recent years, as well as a decline in recorded advertising spend, resulting in little to entice smokers to invest in the sector.”