Less than one in seven people still smoke, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The figures show the proportion of current smokers in the UK has fallen significantly from 14.7% in 2018 to 14.1% in 2019.
In addition, the ONS figures reveal 13.9% of adults in England smoked, 15.5% of adults in Wales, 15.4% of adults in Scotland and 15.6% of adults in Northern Ireland.
In the UK, 15.9% of men smoked compared with 12.5% of women.
And around one in four (23.4%) people in routine and manual occupations smoked, this is around 2.5 times higher than people in managerial and professional occupations (9.3%).
More than half (52.7%) of people aged 16 years and above who currently smoked said they wanted to quit, and 62.5% of those who have ever smoked said they had quit.
While 5.7% of respondents said they currently used an e-cigarette, which equates to nearly 3 million adults in the population.
Commenting on the figures, the chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, Cllr Ian Hudspeth said council public health teams work hard to help reduce smoking rates in their areas, alongside local charities and community groups, and ‘it is testament to their efforts that smoking rates continue to fall’.
‘Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death,’ added Cllr Hudspeth.
‘Reducing smoking rates among the remaining 5.7 million smokers in England is the single biggest thing we can do to improve the nation’s health, as it will reduce cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions and cancer, meaning people can live longer in better health.
‘Greater help is needed for those most in need of support, including routine and manual workers, pregnant women or people with mental health conditions,’ he added.
‘Every pound invested by government in council-run services such as public health helps to relieve pressure on other services like the NHS, criminal justice and welfare. Councils can help the government to achieve its ambition of eliminating smoking in England by 2030, through their tobacco control and other public health and support services, but need certainty over their long-term funding.’
Photo Credit – Geralt (Pixabay)