UK smoking rates dropped significantly in 2017

  • Office for National Statistics

  • curated by Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
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UK smoking rates dropped significantly in 2017, continuing the trend observed in the past 7 years. The latest data from the Office for National Statistics show that, in 2017, 15.1% of UK adults aged 18 years and older were current smokers, equating to around 7.4 million people. This compares to a rate of 15.8% in 2016 and 20.2% in 2011.

Of the constituent countries, England had the lowest smoking rate (14.9%) compared to Wales (16.1%), Scotland (16.3%) and Northern Ireland (16.5%).

Those aged 25 to 34 years had the highest proportion of current smokers (19.7%). Among men and women, current smoking rates were 17% and 13.3%, respectively.

In 2017, 5.5% of people in Great Britain used an e-cigarette (vaped), equating to approximately 2.8 million people. This proportion is significantly higher than the 3.7% observed in 2014 when only vaping was considered.

A higher proportion of men reported vaping (6.5%) compared with women (4.6%). Those aged 35 to 49 years had the highest proportion of vapers (7.4%) compared to other age groups.

The most common reason given for vaping was as an aid to stop smoking, with almost half (48.8%) of vapers reporting using e-cigarettes for that purpose in 2017. The perception that vaping is less harmful than cigarette smoking was the second most common reason (29.2%).

The report has been published in partnership with Public Health England.

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