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Smoking Rate Declines in U.K.

Smoking Rate Declines in U.K. As Activists Look Towards a Smoke-Free Generation


In a recent survey, the Office of National Statistics released figures indicating that fewer people are smoking in the United Kingdom than ever before. These results bolster an argument that vapor advocates have made for a while: accepting vapor products does not create a gateway to smoking, but instead incentivizes more smokers to quit.

Over the course of six years, the agency found that the prevalence of smoking between the age of 18 and 24 dropped from 25.7 percent in 2011 to 17.8 percent in 2017. Only 15.1 percent of Britons considered themselves smokers in the most recent survey, and 5.5 percent of responders instead identified as vapers.

Activists celebrated the results, pointing out that the country was inching closer to fostering a “smoke-free generation.”


“Smoking rates have dropped by almost a quarter in five years, a triumphant step in eliminating the nation's biggest killer,” said Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England (PHE). “The data shows we are winning the war on tobacco and that we are tantalisingly close to creating the first-ever smoke-free generation in England.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) echoed Selbie: “Ash supports the Government's vision, set out in the Tobacco Control Plan for England, of a smoke-free generation,” and warned cutting public health funding and lack of treatment would means more people smoking.

Other interesting data points from the survey give a comprehensive picture of how many people are smoking dependent on regional geography, gender, and workplace habit.

In England, 14.9 percent of responders smoked, the number was 16.1 percent in Wales, 16.3 percent in Scotland and 16.5 percent in Northern Ireland. 17 percent of men smoke, compared to 13.3 percent of women. Additionally, about 25 percent of people who work routine and manual labor occupations smoked, compared with just one in 10 people in managerial and professional occupations.

Among other age categories, smoking rates were highest among people aged 25 to 34, with 19.7 percent of people in this age group identifying as smokers.

Overall, these statistics in the United Kingdom are similar to the results of the last report given by the Center of Disease Control here in America. That report showed that the smoking rate in this country declined from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 15.5 percent in 2016. These similar recent stats from an explicitly vape-friendly country suggest that arguing in favor of vapor as a smoking cessation tool is not going to lead to more smoking, but instead, help smokers to quit.