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Irish smoking levels falling faster than increases in e-cigarette use

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The number of people taking up e-cigarettes is lower than the number who have quit smoking in recent years, new figures show, reports Jack Power for The Irish Times. In the last five years the portion of the population who smoke has fallen from 23% to 17%, according to the latest Healthy Ireland survey. 

Over the same period the number of people who reported to be e-cigarette or vape users only increased by 2%, from 3% to 5% of the population. 

Based on Central Statistics Office figures this means there are around 246,000 people who use vapes or e-cigarettes, roughly one in 20 people, according to The Irish Times article published on 22 November 2019.

One common fear for health campaigners following the introduction of vaping products in recent years was that the practice would simply take the place of traditional cigarettes. 

Some 13% of ex-smokers reported using e-cigarettes, while one in 10 current smokers said they also used vapes. 

Of smokers who made an attempt to quit, some 38% used e-cigarettes during their attempt, according to the Healthy Ireland survey, The Irish Times reports.

The Department of Health survey monitors health trends in the Irish population such as the rates of obesity and smoking, and other topics such as general health and physical activity.

The latest annual report is the fifth round of the survey and the figures are based on interviews conducted over the last year with 7,413 people living in Ireland aged 15 or older. 

One quarter of Irish people between the ages of 25 and 34 have tried vaping, with 8% of that age cohort currently using e-cigarettes. 

As with smoking, usage of e-cigarettes is higher in socio-economically deprived areas, the survey found. Slightly more men said they had tried vaping at one fifth of those surveyed, compared to 14% of women. 

The main positive finding in the latest Healthy Ireland survey for health campaigners was the drop in the rate of smoking. 

In 2015, the first year of the study, some 23% of respondents reported to be smokers. This figure had dropped to 20% in 2018, and 17% this year. The number who reported to smoke daily was even lower at 14%, the survey found.

Smoking levels falling faster than increases in e-cigarette use

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