ASH welcomes fall in smoking prevalence but calls for new Government Strategy to go further, faster

Thursday 01 October 2015

Smoking in England has fallen over the past 12 months, a Government survey has found. The annual Integrated Household Survey revealed that adult smoking fell from 18.4% in 2013 to 18% in 2014. [1] However, rates of smoking remain much higher in some groups with 28% of people in routine and manual occupations smoking.

In a landmark report in June, endorsed by over 120 local and national organisations, ASH called on the Government to set an ambitious vision to reduce smoking rates among all socio-economic groups to less than 5% by 2035. [2] To achieve this ambition smoking rates will need to fall much faster among all groups. The Government’s new tobacco strategy must be well-funded, comprehensive and evidence based if this ambition is to be achieved. [3]

Hazel Cheeseman, Director of Policy, said:

“It is good news that smoking rates continue to fall. However, progress could be much quicker. Smoking still kills more than 80,000 people in England annually and causes half the difference in life expectancy between the richest and the poorest.

“Local services to support people to quit smoking are currently under threat. The Government decision to cut £200 million from local budgets in-year has created further pressures. The new Government tobacco strategy must be adequately funded if we’re to achieve the ambition of smokefree future.”


Notes and Links:

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see:
ASH receives funding from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

[1] The Integrated Household Survey published by the Office for National Statistics is an annual survey which includes a number of questions on health behaviour and attitudes.

[2] Smoking Still Kills, published in June 2015 set out recommendations for a new Government Strategy. It was endorsed by over 120 organisations

[3] In June the Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison, announced the Government would publish a new Tobacco Control Plan for England article to replace the current plan which comes to a close at the end of this year

Contact: Hazel Cheeseman 020 7404 0242 (w) or 07754358593 (m)