Recent studies have shown smoking tobacco in the UK is on the decline, while the popularity of vaping is rising dramatically. Stricter laws on marketing, the NHS Smokefree programme and increased tax are discouraging smokers. There is still a lot of work to be done prior to reaching the government’s pledge to end smoking entirely by 2030.
It is well documented there are certain factors, including geographical location, that can lead to a greater possibility of starting smoking. Therefore, we thought it would be interesting to assess which areas of the UK are successfully quitting smoking and where the highest interest in vaping is.
We analysed a number of categories relating to quitting smoking and vaping including: number of vape shops per capita, quality of vape shops, Google search interest in “vape”, NHS spend per quitter, quit success rate in 2009 & 2018 and the percentage change in quit success rate over this period.
Interestingly, Newcastle Under Lyme has the highest density of vape shops with 3.78 shops per 10,000 residents, according to Google Maps. Waltham Forest on the other hand had just 0.04 shops per 10,000 ranking as the worst region in the UK for number of vape shops per capita. 90% of the top ten regions for highest density of vape shops are in the north of the UK.
From Google Maps we were also able to analyse the reviews for each shop. Despite having the highest density, Newcastle Under Lyme does not have the highest quality of vape shops, this accolade goes to Boston in Lincolnshire. While there was only one southern region in the UK for highest density of vape shops, 60% of the top ten highest quality shops reside in the south. If you are looking to prioritize high quality vape stores, it would be wise to avoid Westminster who rank the lowest for this.
To assess general interest in vaping, we looked at Google Trends around the topic. Swindon had the highest proportion of Google search queries relating to the keyword “vape”. Inverness seem relatively uninterested in vaping with the lowest proportion of searches for “vape”.
From the latest NHS data it is evident the City of London has seen the highest spend on smoking cessation. On the other hand, Thurrock has seen a limited spend despite the area having both one of the highest rates of death from lung cancer in the UK and some of the highest smoking rates (14.9% of the population label themselves as smokers).
With over two thirds of smokers saying they want to quit, not all are successful. To have the greatest chance of quitting it is important to get the right support. By looking at quit success rates, as released by the NHS, we can gage an understanding of who is going about quitting smoking the right way. In 2009, Warrington was the most successful region for quitting smoking, they also remained the most successful region for quitting in 2018 and saw a 13% increase in the number of smokers who beat the addiction. The region with the least amount of quitters in 2009 was the City of London, while in 2018 it was Blackpool. Unfortunately, Cumbria have seen a huge decrease in the number of those who have quit smoking. There decrease is over 64%, a massive drop in numbers over a 9 year period. While 60% of the top ten for quitting smoking in 2009 were in the south, this dropped significantly to just 10% in 2018.
You can find all our data at our interactive tool here: https://www.lifestylepackaging.com/quit-smoking-data