England one of the best places in the world to quit smoking this October

21 September 2017 

As the annual Stoptober campaign to encourage smokers to quit is launched, ASH confirms that England is one of the best places to try to give up.

The UK consistently tops the European rankings for tobacco control policy [1] and smoking prevalence has been steadily falling for several years. [2] At a global level, the World Health Organisation recognises the UK as a world leader in tobacco control. [3]

There are a number of policies in place to encourage smokers to kick the habit. In the ten years since the ban on smoking in public places was introduced in England in 2007, there are almost two million fewer smokers. [4] Support for the smoking ban is stronger than ever, especially among smokers themselves. [5] Electronic cigarettes have had a significant impact, too. 2.9 million adults in England currently use electronic cigarettes, primarily to help them quit and to prevent them from relapsing back to smoking. [6]

While England continues to make great progress towards a smokefree generation, the vision of the government’s tobacco control plan [7], we must not become complacent. There needs to be continued access to support for quitting all year round in order for us to beat the tobacco epidemic once and for all.

Evidence shows that the most effective way to quit smoking is through a combination of professional face to face support and stop smoking aids, such as nicotine patches, gum, or electronic cigarettes. This approach has been shown to be four times more effective than trying to quit without aids or support. [8]

Hazel Cheeseman, ASH Director of Policy, said:

“With the help of Stoptober there has never been a better time to try to quit smoking. We know that smokers find e-cigarettes helpful in quitting so it’s great that Stoptober is encouraging their use for the first time this year.”



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: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash

ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line. For more information contact ASH on 020 7404 0242 or out of hours Deborah Arnott on 07976 935 987 or Hazel Cheeseman on 07754 358 593.


[1] L Joossens, M Raw, The Tobacco Control Scale 2013 in Europe. Brussels, 2014. http://www.europeancancerleagues.org/images/TobaccoControl/TCS_2013_in_Europe_13-03-14_final_1.pdf

[2] Statistics on Smoking in England 2017. NHS Digital, June 2017. https://digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB24228

[3] World Health Organisation report on the global tobacco epidemic 2017. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/tobacco-report/en/

[4] Cancer Research UK press release: British smokers down by 1.9 million since the ban. 1 July 2017. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/cancer-news/press-release/2017-07-01-british-smokers-down-by-19million-since-the-ban

[5] ASH report Smokefree: The First Ten Years. London, July 2017. https://ash.org.uk/information-and-resources/reports-submissions/reports/smokefree-the-first-ten-years/

[6] ASH factsheet: Use of e-cigarettes among adults in Great Britain 2017. https://ash.org.uk/download/use-of-e-cigarettes-among-adults-in-great-britain-2017/

[7] Towards a smoke-free generation: tobacco control plan for England. Department of Health, 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/towards-a-smoke-free-generation-tobacco-control-plan-for-england

[8] Public Health England website – https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/6-stoptober/overview