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

Students' lunches from home fall short

49 minutes ago

School lunch is a hot topic. Parents, administrators and policymakers are squaring off on federal guidelines requiring schools to serve healthier, more affordable and ecologically sustainable meals. No matter how they pan ...

US judge blocks enforcement of new abortion law

3 hours ago

A federal judge has temporarily blocked Louisiana from enforcing its restrictive new abortion law. But lawyers and advocates appeared to disagree about whether the judge's order affects doctors at all five abortion clinics ...

New toilets for India's poor, crime-hit village

Aug 31, 2014

More than 100 new toilets were unveiled Sunday in a poverty-stricken and scandal-hit village in northern India, where fearful and vulnerable women have long been forced to defecate in the open.

User comments