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2021 census reports lowest proportion of smokers since records began

It’s official… only one in eight of the UK adult population smoke.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report used data from the 2021 census to see how many adults admitted to lighting up.

The headline stats

  • 3% of over eighteens smoke – about 6.6 million of the population
  • In 2011, 20.2%% of the adult population smoked
  • Men (15.1%) are more likely to smoke than women (11.5%)
  • People are more likely to be smokers if they live in Scotland (14.8%) compared to England (13.0%)
  • People aged 25 to 34 years are more likely to smoke (15.8%) compared to those aged 65 and over (8.0%)

This is the lowest proportion of smokers since records started in 2011. For comparative purposes, it’s estimated that one in two adults were smokers during the 1970s!

Why are people saying no to smoking?

As you can see from the data, fewer people smoke than ever before. But why is this the case?

The UK Government is taking steps to make the UK smoke-free by 2030. It’s already done this by introducing key legislation such as increasing the smoking age from 16 to 18, and adding warning messages to cigarette packets. It’s also reviewing more drastic options like in New Zealand where the smoking age is increasing year-on-year.

Another thing to consider is that it’s now easier to quit smoking. In the 1970s, if you wanted to stop smoking, you had to do it cold turkey. There are now several smoking cessation options available, including vaping. In fact, the UK Government has been trialling initiatives prescribing e-cigarettes on the NHS to help people stop smoking.

People are becoming more health conscious, with plant-based food, teetotalism, and hardcore gym sessions on-trend right now. This means unhealthy habits like smoking are no longer being picked up.

Finally, smoking just isn’t that cool anymore. In the 1990s and 2000s, rockstars and supermodels were rarely seen without a cig in their mouth. However, celebrities are now coming under fire for being caught smoking.

Our final thoughts

Let’s be honest; smoking is a drag, pun definitely intended. It’s expensive, anti-social, and the number one preventable cause of death worldwide.

The fact that fewer people than ever before are smoking, and this number is going down year-on-year, can only be a good thing. Will we reach the government’s target of 5% smokers by 2030? It’s hard to say right now, but time will tell.

In our opinion, education is critical. It’s essential to show people that already smoke why they should consider quitting. That’s half the battle right there.

Want to see how you can benefit from making the switch to vaping? Check out our online guide

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