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Fact Sheet

Smoking Statistics

Oct 2023
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Plain English Summary

About one out of every eight people in the UK smokes (12.9%). In the UK, the chance that any one person is a smoker has been going down ever since records of it began in 1974. The number of cigarettes that smokers smoke has also gone down over time.

Here are some patterns in smoking in Great Britain:

  • Smoking is slightly more common in men than women
  • People aged over 60 are less likely than younger people to smoke now, but more likely to be an ex-smoker
  • People in lower-paid jobs are much more likely to smoke than people with higher-paid jobs
  • Unemployed people are more likely to smoke than employed people
  • Nearly half of smokers want to quit

Smoking is the biggest cause of death and disease that you can control. About half of all life-long smokers will die early, losing on average about 10 years of life. Most smoking-related deaths arise from one of three types of disease: lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and coronary heart disease (CHD).