Most road users are former heavy smokers.

Almost 85% of e-cigarette users in Europe have quit smoking completely. A majority of them, three quarters, had been smoking for over 10 years before switching to vejping. This is according to the ETHRA survey "EU nicotine users survey 2020"

Only 1.3% of EU e-cigarette users were non-smokers before they started using e-cigarettes. The rest are ex-smokers (83%), occasional smokers (5%) or daily smokers (11%). A total of 35,000 people participated in the European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocate (Ethra) survey. It is the largest study to date on e-cigarette use in the EU.

"Although the data is not representative of the whole population, it suggests that many Europeans use e-cigarettes to quit smoking. 35,000 users also thought this was important enough to take the time to answer the questions. This says a lot," ETHRA writes in its analysis.

To reduce the risk of injury

The survey exclusively targeted people who use alternative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes, snus and nicotine pouches. As the availability of snus is restricted in the EU (it can only be sold in Sweden), 97% of respondents were vejp users. The largest number of responses came from France, Italy and Spain, as well as the United Kingdom (which recently left Union). Participants answered 44 questions about their habits, why they use the products and how they relate to the legislation in place in the EU.

"90% of participants cite harm reduction in relation to smoking as the main reason for using e-cigarettes. 98 per cent state that they continue to use the products for the same reason. This suggests that they are experiencing improved health over time" writes ETHRA.

Flavours and prices matter

According to the survey, 83% of vejps have stopped smoking cigarettes altogether. 17% say they still smoke, daily or periodically. Flavourings and price are the two most important factors for using e-cigarettes instead of cigarettes. 

"78% say that the flavours and variety were important for switching to vejpning. 82% say that the ability to set up their devices and to choose e-liquid with flavour and nicotine strength to suit them was important" writes ETHRA.

Advertising matters less

The survey also shows that advertising and marketing were not decisive for how vejpers use the products. 5 per cent stated that advertising the products was important. However, curiosity and influence from friends and acquaintances were more significant.

"More than a third responded that curiosity was a strong contributing factor in their decision to try e-cigarettes. A similar proportion, 30 per cent, considered the possibility of vejpaking in places where smoking is not allowed as important in this context." ETHRA writes.

Online forums help many

Community in online forums also emerged as an important factor. Almost 30 per cent of vejp respondents said that access to a so-called community played a major role role when they switched from smoking to e-cigarettes.

Sources for this article:
Ethra EU nicotine users survey report

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