Significant fall in smoking suggests Government tobacco control strategy on track

Tuesday 25 November 2014

New figures released today by the Office for National Statistics today show that smoking in Great Britain has fallen from 20% to 19% between 2012 and 2013. [1] The figures are in line with the findings of a separate national survey which found adult smoking rates had fallen to 18.7% in 2013 across the UK. [2] The decline in women’s smoking in particular puts paid to any suggestion that women’s smoking rates may be rising.

ASH welcomes the findings and also the inclusion for the first time of data on electronic cigarette use which finds that in 2014 only 0.1% of never smokers have used them. It’s important that the Government monitors the use of e-cigarettes as usage has increased dramatically in recent years. The ONS findings reflect the ASH YouGov survey which found that electronic cigarettes are used almost exclusively by smokers and ex-smokers. [3]

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 on track. However, children are still taking up smoking so tough new measures to regulate tobacco, like plain standardised packaging, are needed if we are to drive down smoking still further. The government must act quickly to allow parliament to vote on the regulations which will finally get rid of glitzy, glamorous cigarette packs forever.”



[1] Opinions & Lifestyle Survey 2013. ONS. For the first time, the annual Opinions and Lifestyle Survey included questions about use of electronic cigarettes.

[2] 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.

[3] YouGov survey. Total sample size was 12,269 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th and 13th March 2014. The survey found that 17.6% of current smokers were using e-cigarettes while usage among never smokers was less than 1%.