The latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the number of smoking adults in the UK has dropped from 20.1% in 2010 to 17.2% in 2015, the lowest it has ever been since recording smoking figures started in 1974.
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The highest number of smokers has been observed in Scotland at 19.1%, followed by Northern Ireland, where it is 19%, Wales at 18.1% and finally England at 16.9%. Smoking rates have been dropping fastest in Scotland and Wales.
What role does vaping play in all this?
This data also shows that 2.3 million people, about 4% of the population in England, Scotland and Wales used vaping products. With an additional 4 million people saying that they were former vapers, and 2.6 million saying that they had tried the products but never went on to be regular users.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH said: “The decline in smoking is very encouraging and shows that strong tobacco control measures are working. However, the government can’t leave it to individual smokers to try to quit on their own. If the downward trend is to continue we urgently need a new tobacco control plan for England, and proper funding for public health and for mass media campaigns. That’s essential if the prime minister is to live up to her promise to tackle health and social inequality.”
Vaping actively helping reverse the smoking epidemic
These figures suggest that as many public health advocates have been saying, vaping holds a good opportunity for smoking cessation. Contrary to claims by some, such as the US Surgeon General, that vaping may act as a gateway to smoking, this study confirms that the opposite is true. Vaping is a gateway to smoking cessation.