Home > Estimation of the global number of e-cigarette users in 2020.

Jerzyński, Tomasz and Stimson, Gerry V and Shapiro, Harry and Król, Grzegorz (2021) Estimation of the global number of e-cigarette users in 2020. Harm Reduction Journal, 18, (1), p. 109. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12954-021-00556-7.

External website: https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/art...

The combustion of tobacco is the main cause of tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. E-cigarettes are potentially disruptive innovations with considerable potential for population health. A key question is whether e-cigarettes are replacing tobacco cigarettes, which requires mapping their prevalence. Collecting information on nicotine use is difficult for many countries due to cost. The objective of this study was to derive a global estimate of e-cigarette use (vaping).

Since 2018 we have collected information on the prevalence of e-cigarette use. To estimate the prevalence of vaping in countries lacking information, we used the method of assumed similarity between countries in the same region and economic condition. Based on surveys, we calculated the average prevalence of vaping for each WHO region, World Bank income classification group, and the legal status of e-cigarettes in each country. For each of these groups the average prevalence of vaping was calculated. These values were used as substitutes for the prevalence figures in the countries with absent data. The number of vapers was calculated by taking as the denominator the adult population.

Survey data on e-cigarette users were available for 49 countries covering 2.8 b of the adult population in 2018 and unavailable for 2.9 b. Information on vaping was lacking for half of the world's population. We estimated a total of 58.1 m vapers worldwide in 2018. By reference to market growth the data were adjusted to arrive at estimates for 2020. Results were fitted to revenue data at the 2018. For the year 2020, the projection is for 68 m vapers globally.

Many global epidemiological studies use the method of assumed similarity between countries with shared characteristics in order to estimate missing data. The methodological limitations are likely to overestimate the global number of vapers. Our estimate of 68 m vapers indicates considerable uptake given that: e-cigarettes have been available on most markets for only a decade; there is either no support, or there is opposition to vaping in many countries; and countries which regulate e-cigarettes have controls over advertising and promotion. However, given the global scale of tobacco smoking (at 1.1 billion people), progress in adoption of alternative products is slow. Those using e-cigarettes are still a small fraction of those who smoke.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Tobacco / Nicotine
Intervention Type
Prevention, Harm reduction
23 October 2021
Identification #
Page Range
p. 109
BioMed Central

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