Fact Sheets

The ASH Fact Sheet series consists of detailed referenced information and statistics on a variety of topics.


Smoking and Cancer

Smoking is the single biggest avoidable risk factor for cancer. It is estimated that one in two people born after 1960 in the UK will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime and that more than one in four will die from the disease. July 2017.

04. Smoking and Cancer

Smoking and Mental Health

There is a strong association between smoking and mental health conditions.  However, people with mental health conditions are generally able to quit smoking if they are given evidenced-based support.  December 2016.

Smoking and Mental Health



Smoking and Reproduction

Cigarette smoking can affect fertility in both women and men, sexual function in men, pregnant women’s health, the health of an unborn child, and the health of young children.  Dec. 2016.

07. Smoking and Reproduction

Smoking and Meningococcal Disease

Exposure to tobacco smoke via both active and passive smoking has been shown to increase the risk of developing meningococcal disease.  July 2016

32. Smoking and Meningococcal Disease

Nicotine and Addiction

A comprehensive look at why and how nicotine is so addictive. This fact sheet examines the mental and physical aspects of nicotine addiction.  March 2018.

08. Nicotine and Addiction

Smoking and Dementia

People who smoke have a 50 per cent greater chance of developing dementia than those who have never smoked.  Sept 2015.

35. Smoking and Dementia

Smoking and Diabetes

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that smoking is an independent risk factor for diabetes and that among people with diabetes, smoking aggravates the risk of serious disease and premature death.  July 2015.

23. Smoking and Diabetes

Smoking and Respiratory Disease

Smoking is the most important factor in the development of respiratory diseases. In England one-third of deaths from respiratory disorders are attributable to cigarette consumption.  April 2015.

05. Smoking and Respiratory Disease

Stopping smoking: the benefits and aids to quitting

The health benefits of stopping smoking start within hours of putting out the last cigarette.  Using a combination of medication and behavioural support can substantially increase the chances of successfully quitting.  Sept 2014.

11. Stopping smoking: the benefits and aids to quitting

Stopping smoking: ASH’s top tips

ASH’s top tips to help you stop smoking.  Sept 2014.

24. Stopping smoking - ASH'S 15 Tips

How Smoking Affects the Way You Look

Tobacco smoking seriously affects internal organs, particularly the heart and lungs, but it also affects a person’s appearance by altering the skin, body weight and shape.  Sept. 2018.

10. How Smoking Affects the Way You Look

Smoking and Eye Disease

Smoking can worsen several eye disorders, particularly cataracts and age related macular degeneration (AMD), and may lead to blindness.  May 2014.

Smoking and Eye Disease

Secondhand Smoke

Breathing other people’s smoke is called passive, involuntary or secondhand smoking. Health impacts range from eye irritation, headache, cough and sore throat, to heart disease and lung cancer.  Feb 2014.

08. Secondhand Smoke

Smoking, the Heart and Circulation

Cardiovascular disease refers to disorders of the heart and circulatory system. Smoking causes around 25,000 deaths from heart and circulatory disease in the UK each year.   Oct. 2016.

06. Smoking, The Heart and Circulation

Economics & Regulation

The Economics of Tobacco

The costs of smoking to the economy include the expense of treating diseases caused by smoking as well as reduced productivity and environmental costs.  March 2017.


The Economics of Tobacco

The UK Tobacco Industry

British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco, the world’s second and fourth largest tobacco companies (excluding the Chinese state tobacco monopoly) are based in the UK.  Jan 2017.

The UK Tobacco Industry


Smoking in cars

Levels of secondhand smoke in cars can be extremely high due to the restricted space in which the smoke is circulated.  August 2018

Smoking in cars

Tobacco Policy and the European Union

This fact sheet summarises tobacco control policy formulated by the European Union.  Aug. 2016.

20. Tobacco Policy and the European Union

Waterpipes (shisha)

This fact sheet focuses primarily on waterpipe use and regulation in the UK.   Oct 2015.

28. Waterpipes (shisha)

Tobacco and the Environment

From growing the tobacco plant to the disposal of butts and packaging, the whole life cycle of a cigarette takes a heavy toll on the environment.  Sept 2015.

22. Tobacco and the Environment

Tobacco Advertising and Promotion in the UK

While most forms of tobacco advertising and promotion in the UK are banned, the tobacco industry has continued to promote its products through packaging and “below the line” marketing.

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Smokefree Legislation

This fact sheet provides an overview of the smokefree law together with related information including surveys showing levels of support for smokefree measures.  April 2015.

14. Smokefree Legislation

Secondhand smoke in the home

Making the home totally smokefree is the only reliable way of reducing exposure to secondhand smoke as partial restrictions are not effective.  April 2015

25. Secondhand smoke in the home

What’s in a cigarette?

Cigarettes look deceptively simple but in fact they are highly engineered products, designed to deliver a steady dose of nicotine to the smoker.  September 2018.

12. What's in a cigarette?

Illicit Trade in Tobacco

llicit tobacco reduces the public health impact of tobacco tax rises and increases demand for tobacco products.  March 2017.

17. Illicit Trade in Tobacco


Facts at a glance

This factsheet covers some of the main statistics you need to know about smoking, with a focus on the UK and in particular: England. Sept. 2018

Facts at a glance.

Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain, 2018

This fact sheet reports the results of the ASH Smokefree GB surveys on the use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain. ASH included questions on e-cigarette use in this annual survey starting in 2010 with questions addressed only to smokers.

Use of E-cigarettes by adults in Great Britain 2018

Smoking Statistics

This fact sheet includes statistics on tobacco consumption and smoking related
illness and death. November 2018.

Smoking Statistics 

Use of electronic cigarettes among young people in Great Britain, 2018

Regular use of electronic cigarettes among young people in Britain is rare and is confined almost entirely to those who currently smoke or have previously smoked.  August 2018.

34. Use of electronic cigarettes among children in Great Britain

Young People and Smoking

Since the late 1990s smoking among 11-15 year olds has been steadily falling after two decades of little change. Children are more likely to smoke if their parents smoke and parental attitude to smoking is also an important factor. March 2018.

02. Young People and Smoking

Tobacco and Ethnic Minorities

Smoking rates vary considerably between ethnic groups and within groups they vary by gender.  Sept 2011.

26. Tobacco and Ethnic Minorities