Tobacco consumption static 1995-9: changes in the pipeline

Sunday 25 June 2000

102 Clifton Street,London EC2A 4HW Tel: (020) 7739 5902 Fax: (020) 7613 0531

Press Release
25th June 2000
Action on Smoking
and Health

Euromonitor report on smoking

Tobacco consumption static 1995-99 – but changes are in the pipeline

Commenting on a Euromonitor survey showing that tobacco consumption per head had not fallen significantly between 1995 and 1999, Clive Bates, Director of ASH said:

“Of course we want smoking to fall as sharply as possible, but over the period of this survey there has been a surge in smoking among teenagers and young adults, while smoking among adults in general has declined.  Thankfully teenage smoking had its high water mark in 1996 and has fallen sharply since then. We think this was a fashion blip and it is disappearing as fast as it happened” [1]

“The Government White Paper on smoking [2] was only published in December 1998, which is too recently to have made much difference to these figures.   And also some of the measures are still not implemented – for example the advertising ban is blocked by the tobacco industry in the courts.”

“In the pipeline there are measures that will make a difference -banning tobacco advertising, restricting smoking at work, making anti-smoking treatment available on the NHS and tackling tobacco smuggling.  In another five years we will have seen a marked decline in smoking.”

“We expect the tobacco companies to attribute this to cigarette smuggling and to call for tobacco taxes to be reduced.  But this predictable mantra would lead to more smoking not less.  The only credible response to smuggling is a crack-down rather than a cave-in to organised crime – and that includes questioning the companies about their role in tobacco smuggling.


Notes to the Editor

[1] The teenage smoking figures have shown a marked decline since 1996.  Among 11-15 year olds 13% smoked in 1996, but this has dropped to 9% in 1999.  9% was the target established by the Government in its White Paper for 2010 and it has already been achieved.  At age 15, smoking among girls was 33% in 1996, and this has now dropped to 25%.  Similar reductions have been seen with boys.  Figure from Office for National Statistics.

[2] Smoking Kills, 10 December 1998.

Contact Clive Bates, ASH (020) 7739 5902

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