- Average age of UK adult disposable users is 39
- Most popular flavour category amongst the 35-44 age range is fruit, followed by the ‘treats/desserts’
- Highest proportion of Tobacco flavour use in over-55 age category
- Industry fears a dramatic rise in smoking numbers with vapers returning to smoking
- The UK Vaping Industry Association says that “the tobacco industry and illicit markets will be the only winners from bans on disposables and flavoured vapes”
London, 6th December – New industry figures, collected by online vape retailers representing around 43% of the UK market, have revealed that significant numbers of older adults are users of disposable and flavoured vapes, which are the focus of a government consultation to address the issue of youth vaping that will closes on 6th December.
The industry warns that any moves to ban single use vapes and flavours, which have been key drivers in the decline of smoking to record low levels in the UK over the last two years, will have catastrophic consequences for the nation’s public health and will effectively end any chance of creating a smokefree generation in the near future.
The data collected from the last quarter sales by four of the country’s leading online retailers, representing nearly a quarter of the UK market, revealed that:
- The most popular flavour category amongst middle age adults (35-44 and year olds) was ‘Fruit’ flavours, followed ‘Treats and Desserts’
- Highest proportion of tobacco flavour use is in the over-55 age category
- Menthol favours and tobacco flavours are significantly less popular amongst middle age adults
- The average age of adult disposable users is 39
The latest adult vaping statistics follow a survey conducted by One Poll earlier this year, which revealed that 83% of vapers said that flavours helped them quit smoking, with 1 in 3 saying that a ban on them would lead them back to conventional cigarettes, which would represent around 1.5m former smokers.
Says Dan Marchant, co-owner of online retailer Vape Club, which contributed to the demographic sales data: “These statistics show what we in the industry already know – that the very flavours and single use vapes that are now under scrutiny by the government as it looks to tackle youth vaping are a lifeline for former adult smokers.
“The legitimate vaping industry completely recognises the need to deal with youth vaping but it shouldn’t involve any wholesale bans, as this will affect the adults who depend on them. There is already a ban on vapes for U18 year olds as it is illegal for retailers to sell devices to minors. That’s why the industry is calling for greater enforcement of the existing law, on-the-spot fines of up to £10,000 per offence and the introduction of a retail licensing scheme to weed out the rogue traders.”
John Dunne, the UKVIA’s Director General, added: “Why should 4.5m adults who have spent years trying to kick a habit that kills some 250 people a day, and have managed to do so through vaping, be at risk of having their lifeline taken away. If the government goes down the path of banning single use vapes and/or flavours a return to smoking amongst current vapers will be very much on the cards, bringing with it catastrophic consequences for the public health of the nation and wrecking any chances of the government’s smoke free ambition. The only winners from any potential bans on the vaping industry are the tobacco industry and illicit markets, something that no one in their right mind wants to see.”
Notes to Editors
*The figures relate to sales for the Q3 2023 for the leading online vape retailers: Vape Club, Electric Tobacconist, 88Vape and Evapo. The numbers have been anonymised as they are commercially confidential. Gross customer numbers equate to over 2 million which represents around 43% of the UK’s vapers (4.7 million, based on the most recent figures from Action on Smoking and Health, August 2023).
¹‘Treats/Desserts’ includes all other flavours not included in the other three categories, so not Fruit, Menthol or Tobacco.