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Everything we know about vaping: the latest research

Everything we know about vaping: the latest research

John Boughey |

Last fact-checked 26 Feb 2024 | Report a content error

All over the world, some of the smartest minds in medicine and public health are taking a closer look at vaping. In this 2024 guide, we’ll share the latest science about vaping. We’ll look at some new concerns about vaping, and debunk some common vaping myths that may be causing smokers more harm than good. 

Vaping is helping smokers quit

Vaping works better than patches and gum … and at long last, we can prove it!  The latest Cochrane Review on e-cigarettes confirms, with “high certainty”, that nicotine vaping “… increases quit rates compared to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)” (source: This report was published in January 2024, so it’s right up to date. 

This Cochrane Report is great news for smokers who are trying to quit, because these reports are used by policymakers and healthcare professionals all over the world when they’re deciding on the best way to improve people’s health and save lives. Everyone from GPs to Government ministers to Stop Smoking Counsellors can now see proof that vaping is a powerful tool in the fight against tobacco. 

2 in 5 smokers think vaping is as bad as smoking. 

Last August, Action on Smoking and Health released a new report showing that almost 4 in 10 smokers (39%) believe vaping is just as risky (or worse) than smoking (source: In other words, in the UK today, almost 2 in 5 smokers don’t know that vaping “poses a small fraction of the risks of smoking” (source: 

Part of the reason why so many smokers misunderstand vaping could be down to people’s assumptions about nicotine. In 2021, the UK Government published a report showing that “…only 11% of [smokers] knew that none or a small amount of the risks of smoking were due to nicotine” (source: Nicotine is very addictive, but the most harmful parts of a cigarette by far are the tar, carbon monoxide and other hazardous chemicals that smokers inhale every time they light up (source: 

We shouldn’t have a situation where nearly 2 in 5 smokers believe that their best chance of quitting is less healthy than smoking. Hopefully, the Government’s latest smokefree plans will help to correct this misunderstanding. 

Youth vaping is on the rise

In May 2023, Professor Sir Chris Whitty announced that “…in England, the proportion of 11 to 15 year olds using vapes increased from 6% to 9% […] and is still rising.” (source: In other words, almost one in ten children in this age group are vaping. This is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with urgently.

The good news is that the British public want to crack down on underage vape sales. In the UK Government’s most recent consultation on vaping, 81% of respondents said that the fixed penalty notice (on-the-spot fine) for an underage vape sale should be £200 or more. That’s more than twice the fine payable for underage alcohol sales (£90). It’s clear that — when it comes to protecting kids from nicotine addiction — most of us are on board. 

Single-use vape batteries can be recharged 

It’s no secret that disposable vapes pose a massive environmental problem. Disposables create tonnes of unnecessary and dangerous waste every week. What’s less well-known is that many disposable vape batteries have the potential to be recharged and reused hundreds of times. 

Researchers at Oxford University took the batteries out of disposable vapes (they did this under expert supervision in a laboratory — never attempt this at home) and tested them to see how well they would perform if they were recharged. In many cases, these single-use vape batteries could be recharged and depleted hundreds of times with “more than 90% capacity retention”. In other words, the millions of single-use vapes that get thrown out every year have really good batteries. 

You can learn more about the Oxford battery study on their website (

We learn more about vaping every year

We still don’t know enough about the long-term effects of vaping on the human body. The good news is that long-term vaping research is underway. At Manchester Metropolitan University, an 18-month study into the long-term effects of vaping began back in October 2023. This study is focused on the impact of e-cigarettes on vascular health (the way blood flows around the body). The results of this research will be revealed at some point in the year 2025 (source: 

Other studies are beginning to reveal the impact vaping has on our immune system, too. A recent study at Birmingham University revealed that e-cigarettes can weaken our immune systems by interfering with how neutrophils move around in our bodies. The research showed that, regardless of whether a vape contains nicotine or not, the chances of getting a respiratory illness are higher for vapers than they are for non-vapers (source: 

Not all of these stats are good news for vapers, but it’s important to be completely open and honest about what the science is telling us. The more we know about the relative safety of vaping, the better … and we need our universities and health services to show us the way. We’re excited by the research that is being done in this area and we can’t wait to see what science will teach us about vaping over the course of 2024. 

Stay safe and happy vaping!

John Boughey

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