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Smoking Rates at an All Time Low

September 21, 2016
Public Health

The latest figures from Public Health England show smoking rates have dropped to an all-time low, with just 16.9% of the adult population continuing to smoke. Widespread use of nicotine patches and gum, along with the popularity of e-cigarettes are thought to be major factors behind the fall. PHE say that 2.5 million people attempted to give up smoking last year with just over 1 million of them turning to e-cigarettes as a solution.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), told the Guardian: “The continuing decline in smoking prevalence is a tribute to many years when successive governments have implemented comprehensive and progressive tobacco control strategies, including tax rises, mass media campaigns, anti-smuggling measures, smoke-free laws, advertising bans, and last but not least getting rid of tobacco displays and glitzy tobacco packaging.”

ASH however have expressed concern that funding for media aimed at getting people to quit has fallen significantly from £25 million in 2009-10 to just £4 million this year. The South West, the North East and Yorkshire and Humber are the areas showing the greatest decrease with the numbers of smokers down by 3.3%. The figures have been released ahead of the annual Stoptober campaign which encourages smokers to quit for a month. Rates have fallen significantly in the past four decades from a peak in 1974 when 50% of British men were smokers.