• May 21, 2024

Boost in Noncigarette Tobacco Use: U.K.

 Boost in Noncigarette Tobacco Use: U.K.

Image: dusanpetkovic1

Image: dusanpetkovic1

The number of people in the U.K. who smoke pipes, shisha and cigars has increased fivefold over the past 10 years, according to The Guardian.

Based on a study published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, in 2023, there were 772,800 exclusive noncigarette tobacco users compared to 151,200 in 2013. The study is based on research by University College London academics who surveyed 1,700 adults a month between 2013 and 2023 on their smoking habits.

Young adults showed the largest increase in use of noncigarette tobacco. Of the surveyed 18-year-olds, 3 percent used noncigarette tobacco while 1.1 percent of 65-year-olds used these products. Men and current vapers showed a higher prevalence of noncigarette tobacco use as well.

Experts argue that use of noncigarette tobacco can be more harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes. The British Heart Foundation has stated that smoking a shisha pipe for 20 minutes to 80 minutes amounts to the same amount of smoke inhaled from more than 100 cigarettes. The organization also stated that tobacco-free shisha still produces dangerous toxins in the smoke.

The increase in noncigarette tobacco use could be attributed to a belief that these forms of smoking are less harmful than traditional cigarettes or to financial reasons, according to the study.

“Tobacco kills one person every five minutes in the U.K.,” said Ian Walker, executive director of policy at Cancer Research U.K. “Research like this shows that the issue of smoking isn’t just about cigarettes—all tobacco products are harmful and cause cancer, no matter what form they come in.

“That’s why it’s crucial that the government’s age-of-sale legislation applies to all tobacco products. If implemented, this policy will be a vital step toward creating a smoke-free U.K., preventing future generations from ever becoming addicted to tobacco.”

“This 10-year-long study captures the shift in trends of noncigarette tobacco use and paints a concerning picture,” said Sarah Jackson, lead author of the study. “Although rates of cigarette smoking have fallen, our data show there has been a sharp rise in use of other smoked tobacco products, particularly among young people.

“It’s vital that smoking cessation services are adequately funded and available across the U.K. so that the around 772,800 people who use noncigarette tobacco products, and the millions who use cigarettes, are given the support they need to quit.”