Fall in prevalence of smoking in England

THE proportion of adult smokers in England has fallen since 2010 but smoking-related hospital admissions continue to rise, new figures show.

In 2016, 15.5 per cent of people aged 18 and over were smokers, down from nearly 20 per cent in 2010. Smoking prevalence fell for all age groups between 2010 and 2016 with the largest drop amongst 18 to 24 year olds – from 26 per cent to 19 per cent.

A report published by NHS Digital, the Office for National Statistics and Public Health England showed the number of hospital admissions attributable to smoking increased from 458,000 in 2005/06 to 474,000 in 2015/16. But as a proportion of all hospital admissions it fell from six per cent to four per cent over the same period.

Barnsley, Sunderland, Blackpool and Hartlepool had the highest estimated hospital admission rates for smoking-related conditions, with each having a rate of more than 3,000 per 100,000 of population.

In 2015, smoking was a factor in 16 per cent of all deaths – an estimated 79,000. Manchester had the highest estimated rate of smoking-related mortality at 509 per 100,000 of population.

Smoking was more prevalent among men (19 per cent) than women (14 per cent). And unemployed people were almost twice as likely to smoke as those in work – 30 per cent compared to 16 per cent.

The report also found almost 11 per cent of women giving birth were recorded as smokers at the time of delivery in 2016/17, down from 15 per cent in 2006/7.

Figures from last year show an estimated 2.4 million e-cigarette users, which represents around five per cent of adults. Usage amongst 16 to 24 year olds has trebled in the past year, from two per cent in 2015 to six per cent in 2016. The most common reason given for e-cigarette usage was to help stop smoking (46 per cent), while 27 per cent believed they were less harmful than standard cigarettes.

Read the full report here