Fewer than one in five English adults now smoke, study finds

Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and causes many diseases. Credit: CDC/Debora Cartagena

Fewer than one in five adults in England now smoke, the smallest fraction in three generations, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported on Tuesday.

In a letter, health researchers Jamie Brown and Robert West of University College London reported on a seven-year-old programme to monitor smoking prevalence in England.

It samples 1,800 people aged over 16 who are randomly chosen each month.

In 2013, 19.3 percent of those questioned said they smoked.

"For the first time in probably 80 years, smoking prevalence in England has fallen below 20 percent," the letter said.

Smoking in England was rare at the start of the 20th century and reached a peak in the early 1960s, when more than 70 percent of men and 40 percent of women smoked.

Brown and West said smashing the 20 percent mark could be an important moment in rolling back tobacco.

The decline in in England began in the 1970s, they said, with an annual fall of 0.6 percentage points a year on average. The retreat in 2013 was slightly higher at 0.8 percent.

"Much is still to be done," the pair wrote. "However, we hope that breaking the 20-percent barrier will motivate smoking cessation efforts across the country."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Pot-infused edibles: One toke over the line in Colorado?

53 minutes ago

Marijuana shops have sprouted across Denver ever since Colorado legalized the drug for adults in January, but the popularity of pot-infused edibles has surprised authorities, and parents are seeking a ban ahead of Halloween.

US sues Gerber over claims on infant formula

2 hours ago

US government regulators announced Thursday they were suing Gerber, the well-known baby food maker, for claiming that its Good Start Gentle formula can prevent or reduce allergies in children.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.