Smoking rate at all-time low as ex-smokers outnumber smokers two to one

The smoking rate in England has dropped below 17% for the first time, according to official data that show ex-smokers now outnumber people who smoke by more than two to one.

Just 16.9% of the UK population smoke, and 14.6m people are ex-smokers - compared with just 7.2m active smokers, latest figures from Public Health England show.

Sales of tobacco have plummeted in recent years, latest data suggest, falling 20% in England and Wales in the last two years alone.

The data have been released ahead of the 2016 Stoptober campaign. During last year's campaign, of 2.5m people who tried to quit smoking a total of 500,000 were successful.

Smoking cessation

The largest decreases in smoking over the last four years can be seen in south-west England, where the smoking rate fell from 18.7% to 15.5%, north-east England (22% to 18.7%) and in Yorkshire and Humber (21.9% to 18.6%).

Deputy CMO Dr Gina Radford said: 'While we know that quitting smoking is not easy, this Stoptober is a perfect time to try again. The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to stop smoking. There is more help and support available now than ever before.

'The introduction of standardised packs removes the glamorous branding and brings health warnings to the fore and e-cigarettes, which many smokers find helpful for quitting, are now regulated to assure their safety and quality.'

The decline in smoking rates has continued since the introduction in England of a ban on smoking in enclosed public places in July 2007. In 2006, 22% of the British population were smokers.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Subject access requests to GP practices increased by a third under GDPR

Subject access requests to GP practices increased by a third under GDPR

The number of subject access requests (SARs) GP practices receive each month has...

RCGP criticises GP at Hand video showing antibiotics prescribed for sore throat

RCGP criticises GP at Hand video showing antibiotics prescribed for sore throat

A promotional video for Babylon GP at Hand that shows a patient with a sore throat...

Review into overprescribing aims to give GPs power to challenge hospital scrips

Review into overprescribing aims to give GPs power to challenge hospital scrips

A government review of overprescribing in the NHS could see GPs given more power...

Submit your session ideas for the RCGP Annual Conference 2019

Submit your session ideas for the RCGP Annual Conference 2019

GPs can now submit ideas for sessions at the RCGP Annual Conference in Liverpool,...

Scottish GP workforce increases for first time in 10 years, figures show

Scottish GP workforce increases for first time in 10 years, figures show

GP numbers in Scotland have risen slightly for the first time in 10 years despite...

More than 16m GP practice appointments a year lost to DNAs

More than 16m GP practice appointments a year lost to DNAs

More than 16m appointments at GP practices are lost every year because patients fail...