Britain’s burgeoning vaping sector, believed to currently be worth in the region of £1 billion a year, has signed up popular TV medic Dr Christian Jessen to front a nationwide education and awareness campaign to run during April.
Called VApril (a blend of “vaping” and “April”), the campaign seeks to draw awareness to the health benefits of vaping compared to smoking and to try and help people to stub out for good and become healthier. This is a message that is increasingly being championed by UK health bodies such as the NHS and others, as they seek to drive down the rates of smoking in the country.
Dr Jessen says he’s “disappointed” that around 40% of smokers in the UK have not moved to vaping instead. “VApril is all about changing this picture by helping more cigarette users to make a successful and permanent switchover,” he says.
“I personally believe vaping has overwhelming potential to help smokers break their habit, and this is important because stopping smoking is the single most significant step that people can make to improve their health,” he says. “It’s very simple: put down cigarettes for a month, take the VApril Challenge and give yourself the best chance of quitting smoking for good.”
3 steps to quitting success
VApril is being organised by the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) and the challenge it sets out for smokers during April is three-pronged. Smokers who are thinking about switching to vaping but are not sure what to do can attend free “Vaping Masterclasses” at selected cities around the UK.
There, they will learn about the kinds of vaping devices currently on the market and how to use them, as well as the range of e-liquid flavours that go with them. These classes will also feature expert advice on vaping starter kits that smokers can use to begin vaping, regardless of their current level of smoking, from social to light and even heavy.
Additionally, a free guide to vaping for first-timers has been designed and is available for download at the VApril website. Entitled “Vape to break the smoking habit”, it contains advice on, among other things, how to transition from smoking to vaping; how to choose e-liquids based on their nicotine strengths; and how to use vaping gear and information about the various components.
A special Facebook page where smokers can share their VApril experiences has been set up and people taking part in the month-long event are encouraged to post there and all across social media, using the hashtag #VApril.
Read more: The rise of the British vape shop
UKVIA director John Dunne said VApril marked a milestone for the vaping industry in the UK. He called on the government to urge people to take up vaping to get off cigarettes for good.
“This will be the largest campaign ever run by the vaping industry and reflects how far the sector has come in a relatively short period of time,” he said.
“The challenge for the industry, government and the public health community is to get across the message that e-cigarettes are a very small risk compared to smoking and that nearly 3 million smokers are now vaping, with a significant number having switched over altogether. VApril aims to be the starting point for more smokers to quit their habit.”
It’s estimated there are around 9 million smokers in the UK, but the figure has been dropping in recent years and is now among the lowest in Europe. Of the 3 million vapers, many of them are former smokers who started vaping and managed to quit tobacco. All across the UK, vape shops have sprung up in recent years, online and on the high street, allowing people easy access to e-cigarettes and other vaping equipment, as well as the e-liquid they contain.
The global vaping market is forecast to be worth $43 billion by 2023.