vape shop survey uk

New Study Suggests Vape Shops Could Have Closer Ties With the NHS

Vape shop staff have a huge part to play in getting smokers to switch to vaping according to a new survey funded by Cancer Research UK.

The results echo a similar survey I reported on in the piece Could Vape Shops Team Up With the NHS and Should They?

However this time the vape shops targeted were in the East Midlands and sampled the results from surveying 41 staff and 197 customers.

In a nutshell the researchers found that of the customers:

  • 84% of them used e-cigarettes
  • 19% were dual users
  • 78% had completely quit smoking

That last figure is well worth ‘bigging up’ as the young folk say…78% of vape shop customers have quit the cancer sticks completely thanks to vaping.

And on that tricky subject of nicotine ‘addiction’ over half the vapers questioned said they’d lowered the levels they vape considerably since first beginning – are you watching America lol.

Around two thirds of vapers in our sample reported having cut down their nicotine concentration in their e-liquid since taking up smoking…

With those sort of figures and based against the fall in users of the NHS Stop Smoking Services – it’s little wonder ‘experts’ in smoking cessation are suggesting vape shops team up with the NHS – not something I agree totally with – more on that later.

Vape shop staff survey:

The staff questionnaire comprised 36 questions and asked about the types of products available and product prices and promotions.

The questionnaire also explored the shops’ role in smoking cessation, such as whether customers seek advice about quitting smoking in shops, whether shops provide information about quitting, whether vape shops are an appropriate environment in which to offer smoking cessation advice and how this should be implemented (for example, by a trained member of shop staff or an external trained advisor).

For customers:

The customer questionnaire comprised 41 questions and assessed socio-demographic characteristics, patterns of e-cigarette and tobacco use, motivation for using e-cigarettes, preferences for type of e-cigarettes product, their use in smoking cessation and risk perceptions.

Customers’ views about e-cigarette shops were also explored.

Do Vape Shop Staff Need Training In Smoking Cessation Techniques?

There is a slight difference in the numbers of people coming into vape shops asking for quit smoking advice vs staff who felt ‘confident’ about giving such advice.

90% of staff reported being faced by prospective customers asking advice with only 76% happy enough to offer such advice – that may be more than a few lost customers and indeed smokers not being given information on quitting via vaping.

This again comes back to the point I made in the article on vape shops working with the NHS where I suggested some kind of industry standard training in smoking cessation advice could be given to staff.

Vape shops better placed to offer smoking cessation advice?

That rings even more true according to this survey given the staff and customers said “they thought it was appropriate to deliver formal in-store smoking cessation support.”

As I’ve said before a simple and clear set of guidelines would be easy enough to produce…but by whom is a matter for the ‘experts’ but yet another survey suggests this is important:

Just under half (45%) stated that they thought it was appropriate to deliver smoking cessation advice and support in the shop and that they would consider using such support; of these, three quarters felt that the best way to deliver such a service was through a trained member of staff.

It would also seem that buying your first e-cigarette from a vape shop – and getting advice on nicotine content etc – means smokers looking to quit are on the whole more successful than those buying from a supermarket or corner shop:

…our study found that the majority of ex-smokers had quit smoking more than a year ago, suggesting that e-cigarettes may help in sustained as well as in initial cessation. While there is limited evidence as to the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for quitting when bought in vape shops, one pilot study found that at 12 month follow-up, 40% of smokers making their first purchase at a vape shop had quit smoking.

Of the ex smokers surveyed 59% of them said they’d quit for over a year which you could mirror with reports that the take up of vaping has ‘plateaued out’ in the year or so – something the shameful reporting of scare stories the mainstream media has a hand in?

On other matters around vaping shop staff on the whole are extremely knowledgeable:

Staff reported providing other information, including battery safety, operation and maintenance.

The majority of staff accessed the information they gave to customers online and/or provided information based on their personal experiences.

Good to see battery safety high on the list of advice given.

Who Are The Vapers?

Another interesting point was the type of person who vapes.

According to the survey:

The majority of customer participants were male, white British, aged between 18 and 39 years, in full time employment and held a formal qualification.

I break the mold of that one being in my fifties [late fifties lol] but I do have a CSE in typing…I think…


Back to the reasons smokers quit in the first place and apart from health issues it was the financial implications many had considered.

The research showed that on average new vapers were spending just £10 per week on vaping – compare that to the astronomic cost of smoking these days!

Vaping Saves Lives and Money

There’s a clever breakdown in pricing below showing the equivalent in e-liquid to lit cigarettes:

Existing evidence suggests that 1 ml of e-liquid is consumed over a length of time equal to that which in which a typical smoker consumes 5.63 combustible cigarettes.

Based on this assumption, a starter kit costing £20 containing 10 ml of e-liquid would provide the equivalent of 56 cigarettes (2.8 packs of 20).

The weighted average price for 20 cigarettes in the UK is currently £7.8 – this suggests that, in the UK, where the price of combustible tobacco is high, the start-up cost of vaping may be similar to the cost of (licit) tobacco; the cost of ongoing e-cigarette use is likely to be lower.

From an initial outlay of twenty or so quid – especially now vape devices have improved dramatically over the last couple of years – smokers if given the right advice and gear can and are switching saving cash and their health.

The survey concludes:

The majority of vape shop customers are vapers who have quit smoking.

Vape shop staff play a central role in providing customers with product information, and many provide smoking cessation advice. There is a need for clear and easily accessible information on the health effects and effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation, to ensure that vape shop staff provide customers with accurate information on their products.

Further research is needed to investigate the potential for smoking cessation interventions in vape shops, including the extent to which this type of intervention would appeal to non-vapers and how and by whom it would best be delivered.

It’s another thumbs up to vaping especially as a smoking cessation tool.

Final Thoughts

Without some kind of formalized training for vape shop staff to offer advice on quitting the cancer sticks is the industry leaving itself open to unwanted and some might say unnecessary ‘meddling’ from the NHS?

I’ve said it before that I’m open to any moral and legal way of getting smokers into vaping and away from smoking but as soon as we start formally working alongside the NHS things will get tied up in even more red tape.

And don’t forget first and foremost vape shops are businesses and not clinics!

As it stands at the moment and judging by the two surveys on vape shops you will be very unlucky to have staff in your local store who are NOT able to offer sound advice.

However as we all know from anecdotal stories of new vapers being sold the wrong kits and indeed the wrong level of nicotine – some staff are after the sale and nothing else – like I said that’s rare but does happen.

And as I mentioned in my piece A Visit to the Vape Shop – Beginners Guide On What To Expect & What You Should Ask – some vape shops may need to think about becoming more none-vaper friendly.

What I mean by that is the first survey I reported on back in February this year suggested some potential customers were put off by the decor and dare I say ambiance of the shops.

Women in particular were reported as being ‘nervous’ about going inside as they seemed to be male bastions – let alone older smokers who faced with a wall of vapour decide vaping is not for them.

As to the answer to that it’s not for me to say but how about localized marketing campaigns with specific ‘beginner days’ set aside..?

I’ve just got my local pub landlord to not only allow vaping inside but also he’s now 4 weeks into quitting thanks to a spare Innokin T20 Endura kit I was sent.

The next step I’m working on is getting one of my local vape shops to maybe hold an introduction to vaping in his pub…watch this space lol.

Anyway enough of my virtue signalling lol.

The survey is yet another good piece of evidence to put in front of the anti-vapers out there and as the authors say – it really is a realistic reflection of the current state of vape shops and vaping here in the UK:

Our combination of face-to-face interviews and allowing customers to complete questionnaire in their own time is likely to have maximized the amount and quality of data collected.

You can read the full results of the survey here: Vape shops: who uses them and what do they do?

And if you’re a smoker looking to quit or want to see our recommendations on the very best vaping starter kits – check out our Good For Beginners Guide.

I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.


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