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The number of vape users in Britain has dropped by 400,000 in just one year, according to campaigners.
The charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) blamed a misguided belief vaping is just as harmful as cigarettes for the fall.
In March, YouGov polling showed there were 3.2million e-cigarette users in Britain - down from 3.6million the year before, reported The Times.
It comes as an international evidence review showed e-cigarettes were 70 percent more effective in helping smokers quit than nicotine replacement treatments.
Deborah Arnott, ASH's chief executive, said: 'About a third of smokers have never even tried an e-cigarette and less than 20 percent are currently using one.
'If many more smokers could be encouraged to give e-cigarettes a go, the latest evidence indicates that many more might successfully quit.'
This year 17.4 percent of smokers used an e-cigarette while 17.6 percent said they used one in 2014.
But only 39 percent of smokers in Britain believe vaping is less harmful than smoking.
ASH wants healthcare professionals to encourage smokers to turn to e-cigarettes as a way to cut down on the habit.
Some 643,000 smokers in England quit in the 12 months to August - including the coronavirus lockdown. The year before the number was half that, at 307,000, according to the UCL Smoking Toolkit Study.
If six people in 100 quit by using nicotine replacement therapy, ten people in 100 would quit using e-cigarettes containing nicotine, according to a Cochrane Review published yesterday.
Caitlin Notley, from the University of East Anglia's Norwich medical school, part of the review team, said: 'This might be because e-cigarettes mimic the behavior of smoking as well as providing nicotine to ex-smokers.'
In May, it was claimed vaping for only a short period of time can lead to the development of dangerous bacteria linked to significant health problems such as gum disease and even oral cancer
Bacteria thrive in the mouth of vapers and include various infection-causing microbes similar to those found in the mouths of periodontitis sufferers.
After three months of daily use, scientists found a person's mouth was a hotbed of microorganisms linked to tooth loss and, if left untreated, heart, and lung disease.
The study from Ohio State University found the bacteria accumulate independently of the presence of nicotine.
The scientists leading the research, published in Science Advances, thought the culprit was the heated and pressurized liquids found in e-cigarettes.
Study senior author Professor Purnima Kumar from The Ohio State University said: 'Vaping is such a big assault on the oral environment, and the change happens dramatically and over a short period of time.'
Researchers collected plaque samples from gums of 123 people who showed no current signs of oral disease.
Twenty-five were current smokers, 25 nonsmokers, 20 e-cigarette users, 25 former smokers using e-cigarettes, and 28 people maintaining both cigarette smoking and vaping habits at the same time.
Even former smokers who had transitioned to e-cigarettes had more damaging bacteria present than current smokers who do not vape.
'If you stop smoking and start vaping instead, you don't move back toward a healthy bacterial profile but shift up to the vaping profile,' said Professor Kumar.
'Knowing the vaping profile is pathogen-rich, you're not doing yourself any favors by using vaping to quit smoking.'
Among the participants in the study were first-time vapers aged between 21 and 35 who had been using e-cigarettes for between four and 12 months.
Researchers found the microbes triggered a response from the immune system which created a mucus-like slime layer.
This is part of a destructive inflammatory response, where the body's immune system has been triggered by the invading bacteria and tries to fight it off.
As a result, the immune response can, in itself, cause damage to the body.
Proteins were also found which are created when the immune system is on standby to produce an inflammatory response. The scientists say this exponentially increases the likelihood of disease.
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