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Office of National Statistics: UK smoking rates plummet to lowest levels since 1974

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The Office of National Statistics (ONS) is the largest, independent agency in the UK responsible for compiling official statistical data related to population, economic issues, and societal trends including smoking rates. The ONS breaks down the related information into national, regional, and local data, and its newly released publication determines that smoking rates in England have hit their lowest point since 1974.

The report even attributes much of the decline to the rising popularity of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices. According to the ONS, British smokers are now only smoking about 11.3 combustible cigarettes per day.

But this incredible statistic is just the tip of the iceberg. The agency has also identified which age groups and areas of Great Britain are more prone to smoke and to vape.

New UK smoking statistics as published by the Office of National Statistics

The UK Office of National Statistics estimates that the UK has approximately 64 million citizens – both smokers and non-smokers. Comparatively, the United States has a national, cumulative population of about 319 million. Below is a partial list of new UK smoking statistics as released in the new ONS report of March 7, 2017.

  • Of the 64 million people in the UK, approximately 2.3 million use vaping technology on a regular basis – either alone or in dual combination with combustible cigarettes.
  • Over half of these 2.3 million vapers use the technology as a smoking cessation tool.
  • Another 22 percent of the UK vaping community use the technology because it is deemed a significantly healthier alternative to smoking.
  • 10 percent have made the switch because of claims that vaping is cheaper than smoking.
  • 9 percent engage in electronic cigarettes because they can be used indoors.
  • UK smokers average only about 11.3 cigarettes per day, the lowest rate since 1974.
  • In 2015, 17.2 percent of Brits were active smokers. This is a massive drop from the 2010 numbers which were 20.1 percent.
  • The largest decline in smoking rates of a whopping 5 points occurred in the 18 to 24 age group.
  • 24 to 34-year-olds comprise the largest group of active smokers today at approximately 23 percent. 34 to 49-year-olds comprise the largest group of active vapers.
  • The largest number of active smokers happen to reside in Scotland (19.1 percent) followed by Northern Ireland (19 percent).
  • The regional areas with the highest numbers of smokers are Colby (32.3 percent) and Dover (29.7 percent).
  • The metropolitan areas with the lowest numbers of active smokers include Orkney Island (7.0 percent) and Rushcliffe (7.5 percent).

Another interesting statistic shows that more British men (19.3 percent) smoke than women (15.3 percent). And unlike the US, a large percentage of anti-smoking activist groups in the UK tend to promote vaping as a healthy and effective form of nicotine replacement therapy. Deborah Arnott, Executive Director of UK’s Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), has publicly stated in an interview with Barrhead News that the ONS report is very “encouraging.”

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