Only by reducing inequalities in smoking rates can the Government deliver the Levelling Up white paper mission to narrow the gap in healthy life expectancy (HLE) between local areas where it is highest and lowest by 2030.
See below for more information on the work ASH does to identify and try to reduce smoking-related inequalities. See also the ASH health inequalities dashboard.
Mental Health & Smoking Partnership
People with mental health conditions have on average 50% higher smoking rates which are responsible for reduced life expectancy and quality of life. The Partnership brings together clinicians, the voluntary sector and academia to review progress and highlight areas for further action to eliminate this disparity.
Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group
Smoking in pregnancy is associated with poor birth outcomes and is concentrated among younger more disadvantaged women who face greater barriers to quitting. The Challenge Group brings together clinicians, the voluntary sector, and academia to review progress and highlight areas for further action to eliminate this disparity.
Smoking in Social Housing
Housing tenure is the strongest independent predictor of smoking in England. Around one in three people living in social housing smoke, compared to only one in ten who own their own home. ASH works with social landlords, local authorities and the housing sector to promote evidence-based interventions to help smokers in social housing quit. Read more in our latest report on Smoking and Social Housing.
Smoking and Poverty
Smoking can be a financially devastating addiction. 21% of households containing smokers in the UK live below the poverty line (1 million), rising to 32% once the cost of tobacco is included (1.5 million households). 60% (900,000) of these households are in the north and midlands, where household incomes are lowest.
Smoking and Homelessness
Around three quarters of those experiencing homelessness smoke and they tend to be more dependent. ASH is working with local authorities, the voluntary sector, clinicians and academics to promote an evidence-based approach to supporting those experiencing homelessness to quit smoking. Read more in our condensed briefing on smoking and homelessness.
Smoking in Prisons
Smoking rates among prisoners on admission are estimated to be around 80%. Prisons in England, Wales and Scotland have been smokefree since 2018, except for outdoor areas in open prisons. Smokefree policies in open prisons are recommended by ASH.
Smoking and the LGBT community
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are more likely to smoke than people who are heterosexual and often report limited access to health services. Read more.
Smoking in minority ethnic communities
Minority ethnic communities in the UK have varying rates of smoking and tobacco use which are often linked to socioeconomic status and cultural trends. Read more in ASH Fact Sheet: Tobacco and Ethnic Minorities.