Lowest Number Ever of Smokers in UK
Aggressive health campaigns banning smokers from lighting up at work and bars have had the desired effect of decreasing the percentage of smokers in the UK.
Officials now state that 21% of residents are smokers, down from 22% from the previous year. And more people than ever have never started the habit at all.
Cigarette use is slightly more common among men, with 22 per cent smoking compared with 20 per cent of women. Half say they started when they were under 16, and most claim to smoke fewer than 20 cigarettes a day.
There is also a class divide among smokers, with more than a quarter (27 per cent) of those in manual work smoking compared with just 15 per cent of the professional classes.
The smoking ban went into effect in July 2007 and included bans in offices, pubs and work places. It also included more severe warnings on cigarette packaging.
"The figures show that the smoking ban is having the expected effect, removing the possibility of smoking in the workplace and encouraging people to give up."
But he added: "The problem remains in preventing people from taking up the habit in the first place, seen by the rise in the number of men aged 16 to 19 smoking."
Similar bans have taken place around the globe. The US has instituted smoking bans within a certain amount of space around buildings, in many bars, restaurants and businesses, as well as dorms and college campuses. Still, research shows they are behind the UK in smokers per capita, especially male smokers.
In the United States, an estimated 25.6 million men (25.2 percent) and 22.6 million women (20.7 percent) are smokers.
Smoking numbers have gone down however, and it is because of this that many people are living longer lives. While other factors, including air quality and better socio-economic factors have contributed to longevity, smoking appears to be the leading factor.
Changes in smoking habits are the biggest reason why Americans are living longer, said Arden Pope, an epidemiologist at Brigham Young University in Utah who led the study.