Fall in smoking shows tobacco control measures are working

Tuesday 07 October 2014

Smoking in England has fallen sigificantly over the past 12 months, a new Government survey has found. The annual Integrated Household Survey revealed that adult smoking fell from 19.5% in 2012 to 18.4% in 2013. [1] This means that the Government has achieved its ambition which was to reduce overall adult smoking to 18.5% by 2015. [2]

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:

“This statistically significant decline in adult smokers shows that the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan is working.  However, over 80,000 people still die from smoking every year in England and every week hundreds of children take up smoking. Tough new measures to regulate tobacco, like plain standardised packaging, are needed if we are to drive down smoking still further. We urge the government to waste no time in allowing parliament to vote on the regulations which will finally get rid of glitzy, glamorous cigarette packs forever.

“The drop in smoking also shows that concerns that the use of electronic cigarettes would lead to a re-normalisation of tobacco use appear unfounded. The rapid increase in use of these products has coincided with a consistent steady decline in smoking.”   




[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] A Tobacco Control plan for England. The Government set a target of reducing smoking to 18.5% among adults from a baseline of 21.2% in 2009-10 – around 210,000 fewer smokers a year.

Key policies included:

·         Making smoking less affordable by increasing tobacco tax & tackling smuggling

·         Stopping the promotion of tobacco (eg at the point of sale)

·         Supporting smokers to quit smoking

·         Implementing effective regulation of tobacco products

·         Reducing exposure to secondhand smoke

·         Protecting tobacco control from vested interests of the tobacco industry

·         Protecting tobacco control from tobacco industry vested interests

[3] ASH estimates that the proportion of smokers using electronic cigarettes in Great Britain rose  from 7% in 2012 to 11% in 2013. See ASH fact sheet: Use of e-cigarettes in Great Britain.

In 2012 it is estimated that there were about 700,000 adult users of electronic cigarettes. This rose to 1.3m in 2013 and to 2.1m in 2014.