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Smoking rate in UK second-lowest in Europe after 25% fall among young adults

Smoking rates across the UK continue to fall, with a sharp decline since 2010 among younger people, figures show.
smoke

Smoking rates across the UK continue to fall, with a sharp decline since 2010 among younger people, figures show.

In 2016, 15.8% of adults in the UK smoked, down from 17.2% in 2015, the data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed.

Some 15.5% of adults in England currently smoke, rising to 18.1% in Northern Ireland, 17.7% in Scotland and 16.9% in Wales.

Across the UK, 5.6% of people around 2.9 million used e-cigarettes in 2016.

Young adults

Public Health England chief executive Duncan Selbie said there are now more than half a million fewer smokers in England than in 2015, and the UK has the second-lowest smoking rates in Europe after Sweden.

He added: 'What is really fantastic news is that this steep decline is even

Smoking rates across the UK continue to fall, with a sharp decline since 2010 among younger people, figures show.

smoke
Smoking rates across the UK continue to fall. Picture: iStock

In 2016, 15.8% of adults in the UK smoked, down from 17.2% in 2015, the data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed.

Some 15.5% of adults in England currently smoke, rising to 18.1% in Northern Ireland, 17.7% in Scotland and 16.9% in Wales.

Across the UK, 5.6% of people – around 2.9 million – used e-cigarettes in 2016.

Young adults

Public Health England chief executive Duncan Selbie said there are now more than half a million fewer smokers in England than in 2015, and the UK has the second-lowest smoking rates in Europe after Sweden.

He added: 'What is really fantastic news is that this steep decline is even greater among young adults (aged 18-24), where smoking has fallen by a staggering quarter since 2010, reversing a long trend.'

In 2010, 26% of this age group smoked. The figure fell to 19% in 2016.

Mr Selbie said: 'It's now hard to believe that back in 1974 almost half of adults smoked. But now an end really is in sight and we have a real opportunity to virtually eliminate all the harm, misery and death caused by smoking.'

Live longer, feel better

British Lung Foundation chief executive Penny Woods said: 'People who quit live longer and feel better, no matter their age. However, we must not be complacent. Smoking is still the UK's biggest cause of early preventable death.

'Approximately 100,000 people die needlessly from smoking-related diseases every year in our hospitals – it's time to tackle the human and financial cost the tobacco industry creates.

'These statistics confirm that e-cigarettes are mainly being used to help people quit. Given that half of long-term smokers die as a result of their habit, using vaping to help someone stop smoking could literally save their life.'


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