How have vaping habits changed since the start of Covid-19 lockdown?

Desktop Header-Global Asset Library Images 2020 20 2

2020 has been eventful, to say the least. The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has seen the world adapt to a new normal with face masks required in public places and antibacterial gel becoming our new best friend.

In a bid to socially distance, many of us have switched our usual visits to local shops with online purchasing, whereas others have made more marked changes.

Now, a number of months on since the pandemic broke out, and as we begin to adapt to the world we live in, we’ve decided to delve into some research to find out how the UK’s vaping habits changed during lockdown.

Here is what we found…

Has vaping become more popular?

According to data provided by the Office for National Statistics, in 2019, there were around 3 million people in the UK who vaped, with men more likely than women. This represents 5.7% of the population and is significantly higher than observed 5 years earlier in 2014, when just 3.7% vaped.

Looking closer at 2020, we surveyed 2,028 people with varying nicotine habits to ask how their consumption has changed since news broke of the pandemic. 40% of respondents said that their nicotine habits have changed since the start of lockdown on 16th March.

These changes were not made immediately after news of Coronavirus broke. Instead, most happened when restrictions were put in place and as people adapted to the ‘new normal’ - 41% made a change when lockdown was introduced and 38% after a few weeks of lockdown.

6 months on graph 1 bigger

Almost 30% of respondents said they were vaping more now than before lockdown, whereas 19% said they are now vaping less, and 9% said they have changed where they vape.

Interestingly, 1 in 4 respondents (25%) said they have noticed their partners’ nicotine habits have changed since the start of lockdown, with 41% of these stating their partner has smoked or vaped more over the last 6 months.

6 months on graph 2 bigger

46% of all respondents who currently use nicotine products said that they have tried to be more considerate when in public since the pandemic began. Despite this, 68% of non-smokers/vapers surveyed said they had not noticed any change in behaviour.

However, 13% of surveyed non-smokers/vapers said they believe the Government’s guidance during the pandemic has influenced their opinion of those who vape, despite more than half (53.5%) being unaware of that the UK Government’s official stance is.

How are vapers now shopping?

So, frequency and location has changed, but what about how people buy vape products? Well, many survey respondents stated that they had bought in bulk during lockdown or switched to purchasing online rather than in a physical store – something we can say the blu GB site has certainly experienced.

Since March, we’ve seen a noticeable rise in online purchases, especially for flavoured vape juices, and Google Trends Data reveals that the number of vape-related searches spiked during the first week of lockdown.

Google trends static

Further research revealed that 9% of respondents have bought from abroad and 8% were planning a holiday where they intend on purchasing vape juice and other nicotine products.

Will this switch to online purchasing stick? Well, that’s yet to be determined. In July, we asked how people felt about vape shopping post-lockdown and found that many people are divided.


At blu, we have always tried to make the purchasing process as simple as possible.

With Vape Subscription, you can automatically order your favourite products without lifting a finger – let alone leaving the house!

Place an order online and select ‘Vape Subscription’ to ensure repeat orders. You can receive select products at delivery intervals of your choice, whether that’s every 1, 2 or 4 weeks, and we promise to fulfil as long as stock lasts.

'Great appeal'

As blu Brand Planning Manager Pete Blackman said: “At blu, we’ve seen a big change in people’s nicotine use over the last 6 months since lockdown was first introduced and we expect they will adapt again during October. It will be interesting to see whether these changes stick long-term or whether these are short term effects.

“For those who have adapted their buying habits, it seems the convenience of online purchasing and auto-ship delivery has great appeal.”

Have your vaping habits changed?

If you find yourself recognising changes in your own vaping behaviour or contemplating the online shopping versus in-store conundrum, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Join the conversation over on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and let us know whether you think these changes will stick.