Healthy Ireland released their annual report today, Dec 7, 2021. This report covers key health indicators such as smoking, alcohol intake, and social connectedness.
“The survey was conducted annually since inception in 2015; five waves, from 2015-2019, were completed using face-to-face interviews with approximately 7,500 people per annum and are available on the Healthy Ireland website”
However, due to the Covid restrictions, 2020’s report could not be completed. This 2021 survey took place by telephone from October 2020 to March 2021.
The survey is available here; https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/9ef45-the-healthy-ireland-survey-2021/
Looking through the section on smoking and E-Cigarettes, some interesting observations arise.
- 18% of the population are current smokers, a decline of 5 percentage points since the first wave of this survey in 2015 and roughly equivalent to smoking levels in seen in 2018. However this is a rise of 1% on 2019 figures.
- 4% of the population have used e-cigarettes, with those aged under 25 most likely to have used them
- Smoking in 25-34 year-olds has declined by 6 percentage points to 20% since 2019
- 24% of 45-54 year-olds now have the highest prevalence of smoking (24%)
- 44% of all who smoked in the last 12 months have attempted to quit
- 27% of those who attempted to quit in the last 12 months were successful.
- 18% of those who tried to quit smoking in the previous year used e-cigarettes in this attempt, significantly lower than the 38% doing so in 2019
- Vaping among never-smokers is <1%
It would seem the fall in E-Cig use coincides with the rise in smoking. Both 1%.
The most striking figure is the fall in quit attempts using an E-Cigarette and the stalling in cessation rates if we take the 1% rise as a statistical anomaly.
Will the ones who spent most of 2019 and a lot of 2020 demonizing vaping and discouraging its use accept the ‘credit’ for this rise in smoking? Or will they spin this as evidence that E-cigs don’t work? Let’s hope they give serious consideration to the possibility that they may be responsible for reversing a downward trend in smoking for the first time since this survey started.
Unintended consequences are still consequences.