According to government data, Scotland has one of the highest rates of smoking in the UK. 14.8% of adult Scots smoke, above the UK national average of 13.3%.

This is having a serious impact on the health of Scots with smoking contributing to around 250 of every 100,000 deaths in Scotland in 2021, according to The Scottish Public Health Observatory. Given this and given Holyrood’s ambition to have a smoke-free Scotland by 2034 (smoking rates at 5% or lower) you’d think now wouldn’t be the best time to potentially outlaw one of the best smoking cessation tools we have, and yet that’s where we find ourselves. 

Earlier in September, the First Minister announced a consultation on potentially banning single use (disposable) vapes. This has now moved on in the form of a UK wide consultation that includes options to significantly restrict vaping products. This despite an impressive 43% of smokers or ex-smokers in Scotland having used vaping as a tool to kick cigarettes, and a substantial 71% stating that vaping helps achieve a smoke-free life.

The National:

Despite this, a constant stream of negative headlines is eroding the public’s understanding of vaping’s benefits, particularly among smokers. Alarming data from the public health group Action on Smoking and Health, published in August 2023, indicates that while 94% of smokers are aware of vaping, 40% mistakenly believe that vaping is as harmful as or even more harmful than smoking. This represents a concerning trend, with misconceptions growing by 60% since 2019.

Proven and effective

This drip-drip of negative stories, combined with the potential for significant restrictions, threatens to undermine the progress made by vaping over the last decade and could prevent smokers and ex-smokers from accessing a proven and effective quitting aid.

It threatens to derail the Scottish Government’s smoke-free Scotland by 2034 goal, condemning another generation to smoking related illnesses.

The UK’s leading vape trade association, the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) is now seeking to challenge some of the misinformation we’ve seen over recent months and to educate smokers about the benefits of vaping.

Alongside this, we want to position the industry as a partner, not just in terms of smoking cessation, but also in terms of preventing underage vaping, encouraging responsible product disposal (with recycling points across Scotland), and avoiding illicit or counterfeit products.

While the government has a role to play, the vaping industry also recognizes its responsibility and the IBVTA, representing the UK’s leading independent vape manufacturers, importers, distributors, and vendors, is launching a major national public information campaign to meet this responsibility.

This campaign is accompanied by substantial new consumer insights that provide a comprehensive view of vaping, its various devices, and how smokers are using them to quit.

Our research uncovers the different types of vaping devices used by smokers at various stages of their quitting journey.

Single-use vapes, due to their user-friendly nature, play a crucial role in the initial transition away from tobacco, with 53% of regular smokers and 61% of recent ex-smokers using single use

Vital role

As ex-smokers move beyond the initial tobacco withdrawal phase, 43% express an interest in switching to refillable or pod-based systems.

This transition further underscores the vital role that vaping, in all its forms, plays in helping smokers quit and preventing relapses.

While the media’s interest in vaping is undeniable, it should be grounded in facts and evidence, including the industry’s efforts and programmes to address recent concerns.

It should also reflect the compelling evidence that vaping, particularly when using flavoured devices, is pivotal in achieving the Scottish Government’s smoke-free ambitions.

Amid the current debate and media coverage, we must ensure that the essential message – that vaping saves smokers’ lives –remains undiluted.

Marcus Saxton, Chair,  Independent British Vape Trade Association

For more information about the campaign and the research supporting it, please visit