Smokers in Wales are losing trust in vapes – with nearly half (48%) saying they only trust vaping a little or have no trust at all. Thirty eight per cent say it could stop them from attempting to quit their smoking habits through vaping in the future.

And 62% believe they’re just as, or more, harmful than cigarettes.

A poll of 2,000 smokers across the country revealed a growing distrust in switching to vapes, which could hit plans to make smoking obsolete in the UK. 

The government’s independent Kahn Review said vaping had a central role to play in a smokefree future across the country, with more than six and half million smokers still in the UK. And evidence last year by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) re-confirmed that vaping was at least 95% less harmful than smoking.

But according to the Adult Smokers Trust in Vaping study conducted by One Poll and commissioned by SMOORE, pioneers in inhalation technology, those whose trust is diminishing, 34% cite the lack of independent long term clinical research showing vaping to be less harmful than smoking. While 32% are concerned about the lack of any information available about the harm profile of different vape products.  

Other factors that had caused a lack of trust amongst smokers in Wales included: negative reports and studies that smokers had come across, inconsistency of government attitudes across the world towards vaping, the growing black market for vapes, and the view of the World Health Organization on vaping.

Dr. Chenxing Pei, a Senior Aerosol Engineer at SMOORE Centre for Analysis, Testing, and Safety Assessment, said: “There's a major push to get smokers to move to vape products, but as of now, they just do not have all the information they need to make an informed decision to switch.

“It's vital smokers are confident enough to switch, especially since health minister Neil O’Brien said the government must ‘exploit the huge potential of vaping to help adult smokers to quit’.

“But reducing or quitting is incredibly difficult, it’s imperative to give them the belief that what they are attempting isn’t going to be a waste of time.

“And if vaping is to be viewed as a credible way to quit, urgent efforts need to be made to ensure smokers trust these products to have the desired impact.”

The research also revealed how trust among Welsh smokers could be regained, with 30% claiming public health campaigns promoting the evidence-based facts could turn the tide. Better education of doctors to give more advice on how vaping can be an effective way to reduce harm caused by smoking, was cited as another key way to build trust.

Nearly two thirds (64%)  of smokers in Wales want information to be made available on the harm profile of the vape product at the point of purchase. 

However, of those who smoke and vape in Wales, 85% initially started to reduce their reliance on cigarettes, with 54% of these claiming they were successful. 

The study coincides with SMOORE establishing an independent ‘think tank’ of scientific, smoking cessation and compliance experts from the UK and US to lay the foundations for an industry-wide harm reduction rating system that can be communicated to consumers on product packaging or accessed via a QR code. 

Adds Dr Pei: “Government statistics last year showed that the proportion of smokers in the UK was at its lowest level since records below, a decline which was attributed largely to the major role played by vapes. 

“However, the findings of this study, highlight a significant trust gap amongst adult smokers and it’s crucial for the vape retailers and manufacturers, the government, regulators and healthcare professionals to come together to bridge it and support smokers on their quitting journey.

“It’s clear that open and transparent communication is essential in this process and to supporting the government's ambitions for the country to go smokefree.”