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Fact Sheets


The ASH Fact Sheet series consists of detailed referenced information and statistics on a variety of topics. The ‘At a Glance’ series provides brief overviews of key tobacco issues.

At a Glance


Implementation of the smokefree law

Provides an overview of the smokefree legislation including details of enforcement, exemptions and penalties.

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Smoking and Disease

Smoking causes around 80% of deaths from lung cancer, around 80% of deaths from bronchitis and emphysema, and about 14% of deaths from heart disease. More than a quarter of all cancer deaths can be attributed to smoking.

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Smoking Statistics

Around 10 million adults in Great Britain smoke cigarettes: 20% of men and 17% of women. Two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18.

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Tobacco Regulation

Key facts covering consumer protection, child protection, smoking in public places, tax and tobacco advertising.

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Tobacco Economics

Smoking costs the National Health Service (NHS) approximately £2 billion a year for treating diseases caused by smoking. About 77% of the price of a packet of cigarettes consists of taxation.

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Health


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.

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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.

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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.

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Smoking and Dementia

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Stopping smoking: ASH’s top tips

ASH’s top tips to help you stop smoking.

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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.

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Smoking and Eye Disease

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Smoking and Cancer

It is estimated that in the UK one in three people will develop cancer at some stage in their lives and that one in four will die from the disease. More than one quarter of all cancer deaths in the UK are attributable to smoking.

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Economics & Regulation


Smoking in cars

Levels of secondhand smoke in cars can be extremely high due to the restricted space in which the smoke is circulated.  Oct. 2016

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Tobacco Policy and the European Union

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

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Illicit Trade in Tobacco

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

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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.

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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.

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Waterpipes (shisha)

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

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Smokefree Prisons

Although many jurisdictions worldwide have implemented smokefree laws in public places, prisons are often exempt. This fact sheet examines the rationale for making prisons smokefree and the impact such polices have had to date.

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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.

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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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Tobacco and the Developing World

Globally smoking prevalence has declined but  some developing nations have experienced only slight reductions or an increase in smoking prevalence.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Statistical


Smoking Statistics: Illness and Death

Smoking is the primary cause of preventable illness and premature death. Half of all life-long smokers die prematurely losing on average 10 years of life.

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Smoking Statistics: Who Smokes and How Much

This fact sheet includes statistics on numbers of smokers, tobacco consumption and dependence on smoking.

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Use of electronic cigarettes (vapourisers) among adults in Great Britain

Since 2010 there has been a significant rise in use of electronic cigarettes among adult smokers in Great Britain. This fact sheet summarises findings from annual surveys.

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Use of electronic cigarettes (vapourisers) among children in Great Britain

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

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Young People and Smoking

Since the late 1990s there has been a fall in smoking among 11-15 year olds after at least two decades of little change. Children are more likely to smoke if their parents smoke and parents’ attitude to smoking is also an important factor.

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Tobacco and Ethnic Minorities

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

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