While health experts and legislators have yet to make up their mind about the efficacy of electronic cigarettes as smoking cessation aids, the public seems to have already decided. According to the France’s 2014 INPES Health Barometer, around 400,000 people have managed to quit smoking with the help of electronic cigarettes.
The National Institute of Prevention and Education for Health has recently released the results of the 2014INPES Health Barometer. It focuses mainly on smoking in France, but for the first time ever, it also contains interesting data on the use of electronic cigarettes. The survey was conducted on a representative sample of the French population – 15,000 people aged 15 to 75.
The analyzed data reveals that 99% of the population has heard about e-cigarettes, but its use is less widespread: 26% (around 12 million people) have tried electronic cigarettes at least once, 6% (around 3 million) call themselves as vapers and 3% (1.5 million) use e-cigarettes on a daily basis. Overall, the majority of users tend to be young and male: 45% of 15-24-year-olds have tried electronic cigarettes, compared to only 5% of 65-75-year-olds, and 29% are male compared to 23% women.
Among daily vapers, three quarters said they were still smokers (regular or not), while the other quarter was made up of ex-smokers. Vapers reported using electronic cigarettes for four months on average, while 9% reported using them for over a year. The main reasons cited for using electronic cigarettes were nicotine addiction, the ever-growing prices of tobacco cigarettes and health benefits.
But the most important finding of the 2014 INPES Health Barometer was that electronic cigarettes do seem to be helping smokers quit, a result backed-up by several scientific studies. After analyzing collected data, researchers were able to estimate that around 0.9% of the French population (around 400,000 people) were able to quit smoking with the help of electronic cigarettes. An average decrease of 8.9 cigarettes a day was also observed in current smokers who are also using e-cigarettes.
In fact, more than a third of current smokers reported having decreased the number of daily cigarettes smoked compared to 2010, a statistic believed to also be linked to the rise in popularity of electronic cigarettes.