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Press Release

ASH response to ONS figures on smoking and vaping

05 Sep 2023

Official Government estimates for the rate of smoking and vaping were published this morning. They show:

  • Overall rate of smoking in adults in England in 2022 was 12.7%. This is down from 13.0% in 2021 but is nowhere near fast enough to achieve the Government’s ambition of 5% or less by 2030.
  • Rate of vaping among those 16+ in Great Britain was 8.7%. This is an increase on rates reported in 2021
  • Highest levels of vaping are among those aged 16-24 and the highest levels of smoking are among those aged 25-34

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has published estimates for adult and youth vaping for 2023 [1] [2]. ASH survey continued to see an increase in vaping in 2023. The UCL Smoking Toolkit Study which tracks smoking behaviour every month has shown a stagnation in smoking rates since 2020. [3]

ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnott commenting on slow progress on smoking said:

“Today’s figures are a wake-up call. Smoking rates are falling, but not nearly fast enough to deliver on the Government’s ambition of 5% or less by 2030. Financial stress and poor mental health are on the rise, which we know makes it harder for smokers to quit. Initiatives like “Swap to Stop” are helpful but they’re nowhere near enough. The Government must step up its support to smokers, for example by reinvesting in the vital campaigns to motivate smokers to quit and discourage youth uptake which have been cut to the bone in recent years.”

On youth vaping she commented that:

“The growth in vaping among adult smokers and ex-smokers is welcome as vaping is a very successful aid to quitting smoking. However, like the ASH surveys the ONS data show a worrying growth in vaping among teens and young adults. The Government’s response to the consultation on youth vaping due imminently must contain concrete measures to prohibit child-friendly branding, and put products out of sight and out of reach in shops, as well as a tax on the pocket money priced disposable vapes most popular with children.”


Notes to the Editor

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive is available for media interviews contact


[1] ASH 2023 adult vaping rates here:

[2] ASH 2023 11-17 year old vaping rates here:

[3] UCL Smoking toolkit Study: