Reports have confirmed that English smoking rates have dropped. Data from 2012 showed that as many as 19.3% of adults in England were smoking. By the end of 2015 this number has dropped to 16.9%, a significant drop in just three years.
According to PHE (Public Health England) the current number of people smoking in England (Around 7.2 million) is the lowest number of smokers on record, since comprehensive records began.
Some say that the drop is in part due to the uptake of e smoking, with many choosing vaping, a significantly cleaner way to smoke, over traditional cigarettes which are proven to be harmful to health. E cigarettes are now commonly available in England, with some towns and cities evening sporting vaping cafes where e smokers can enjoy a coffee or tea, something to eat and a vape.
Restrictions put in place as part of the Smoke Free England legislation which went live on 1st July 2007 have certainly played their part, making smoking tobacco cigarettes in public places, including workplaces a no go. This, campaigns such as Stoptober and the easy availability of, and the better understood benefits of e smoking have certainly made an impact.
It would be prudent to believe that this trend of giving up smoking altogether or shifting to vaping will continue to increase in popularity and that subsequent years will continue to report a drop in the number of adults smoking.
It’s interesting to note that of more than a million smokers asked about giving up smoking said that they turned to vaping to quit with 700k trying cessation / nicotine replacement alternatives such as gum or patches. Clearly vaping has gone a long away to help people give up smoking and will likely continue to.
Also worth nothing is the fact that at the same time that smoking levels have dropped, the number of prescriptions given out for prescription for cessations aids such as nicotine gum and patches (etc) have dropped off which the number of people buying e cigarettes has risen. It is hardly likely to be a coincidence that vaping is on the rise whereas tobacco smoking, a proven cause of cancer, heart disease, stroke and more, has fallen. Incidentally, there are still more men smoking than women, a difference of 19.1% to 14.9%.
While no single act or change can be given credit for the decline in tobacco smoker numbers, it is clear that a combination of awareness of the risks of smoking cigarettes, campaigns such as Stoptober, legislation prohibiting public smoking, the support available to quit, a change in perception / attitudes around smoking and of course the rise of vaping have all had a combined and a positive effect on smokers.