Smoking among adults
Among adults aged 16 and over, in England, in 2005:
- Smoking prevalence for adults was 24 per cent (25 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women). There has been an overall decrease in smoking prevalence from 39 per cent in 1980. In recent years prevalence has been falling more steadily
- The decrease in prevalence since 1980 has been most marked among those aged 50-59, smoking prevalence fell from 44 per cent in 1980 to 24 per cent in 2005
- The proportion of people who have never smoked has been rising steadily, from 43 per cent in 1982 to 53 per cent in 2005
- Filter cigarettes continue to be the most widely smoked type of cigarettes, however, the use of hand-rolled cigarettes has increased from 10 per cent in 1984 to 25 per cent in 2005
- The proportion of those in manual socio-economic groups who smoke has decreased from 33 per cent in 1998 to 29 per cent in 2005. However, people in manual groups continue to be more likely to smoke than those in non-manual groups (29 per cent and 19 per cent respectively)
- Seventeen per cent of mothers continued to smoke throughout pregnancy in 2005, whilst 49 per cent of smoking mothers gave up before or during pregnancy
Almost two fifths (39 per cent) of adults who were current or ex-regular smokers started smoking before the age of 16. Men were more likely than women to have started smoking before the age of 16 (41 per cent and 36 per cent respectively)
Smoking among children
For pupils aged 11 to 15 in England, in 2006:
- Two fifths (39 per cent) of pupils reported having tried smoking at least once. Sixty one per cent reported they had never smoked in 2006. The proportion who had never smoked rose from 47 per cent in 1982 to 61 per cent in 2004 and has remained at a similar level since
- Nine per cent of children reported that they were regular smokers (smoked at least once a week), a proportion which has remained unchanged since 2003
Girls are more likely to smoke than boys. In 2006, 10 per cent of girls were regular smokers compared with seven per cent of boys. Older pupils are also more likely to smoke regularly than younger pupils
- Children who truanted from school were estimated to be more than twice as likely to smoke as those who have not truanted
- Overall, over four in ten (42 per cent) of current smokers were secret smokers (said that their family did not know they smoked)
- Two thirds (65 per cent) of pupils who smoked identified shops as one of their usual sources of cigarettes, including newsagents or tobacconists (55 per cent).
Behaviour and attitudes to smoking
- In Great Britain in 2006, 72 per cent of current smokers aged 16 and over reported that they wanted to give up smoking, with health being the most common reason. Seventy eight per cent of current smokers reported having tried to give up smoking at some point in the past
- In Great Britain in 2006, the majority (77 per cent) of people said they agreed with the ban on smoking in public places, with only 15 per cent of people saying they disagreed
- In England in 2006, 43 per cent of children aged 11-15 who smoked reported that they wanted to give up smoking and two-thirds (67 per cent) of children had tried to give up smoking
Smoking-related ill health and mortality
- In England in 2005/06 there were approximately 1.7 million Finished Consultant Episodes (FCEs) in England with a primary diagnosis of a disease that can be caused by smoking. This figure has been steadily rising each year and is around 570,000 more than it was in 1995/96
- In 2005/06, around 571,400 FCEs for adults aged 35 and over in England are estimated to be attributable to smoking. This accounts for six per cent of all FCEs among this age group. Of the FCEs which are attributable to smoking, 32 per cent (184,600) were cancer related, a further 32 per cent (180,100) were due to respiratory diseases, 27 per cent (156,100) were related to circulatory diseases and five per cent (26,100) were due to digestive diseases
- In 2005, around 81,900 deaths in England (17 per cent of all deaths of adults aged 35 and over) were estimated to be caused by smoking with a larger proportion of men (23 per cent) estimated to die than women (13 per cent) from smoking-related diseases
Among those aged 35 and over, it is estimated that in 2005, around 36,700 cancer deaths, 23,600 deaths from respiratory diseases, 20,000 deaths from circulatory diseases and 1,600 of deaths from diseases of the digestive system were attributable to smoking.
Smoking costs and economics
- Previous research, conducted in 1998, has shown that the cost to the NHS of treating diseases caused by smoking is estimated to be between £1.4 and £1.5 billion a year
- Releases of cigarettes for home consumption (both home produced and imported) have fallen since the mid 1990s; although much of the decline, among home produced cigarettes, occurred before 2000.
- During the same period releases of hand-rolling tobacco have increased by just over 50 per cent
In the United Kingdom in 2006, tobacco was 17 per cent less affordable than it was in 1980. Household expenditure on tobacco has more than trebled since 1980 however, expenditure on tobacco as a proportion of total household expenditure has been decreasing steadily since 1981, from 3.8 per cent in 1981 to 2.0 per cent in 2006.