Concern as number of people quitting smoking stalls

In collaboration with the Press Association

New figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that in recent years the number of people giving up smoking is stagnating.

"The government needs to act to reduce smoking rates, yet recent cuts to public health budgets have undermined the ability of local areas to tackle smoking.” - George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK

The news is of great concern to Cancer Research UK’s tobacco policy manager, George Butterworth who said: “Up to two in three long term smokers will die of a disease caused by their smoking so we’re extremely concerned to see the declining rates of people smoking has stalled. The government needs to act to reduce smoking rates, yet recent cuts to public health budgets have undermined the ability of local areas to tackle smoking.”

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, agreed that the slowdown in the numbers of people stopping smoking was worrying and there was a need for a comprehensive tobacco control policy.

But the figures do reveal that the number of men who smoke fell to 20 per cent.  By comparison, in 1974 51 per cent of men smoked.

The overall figures show that when it comes to regular cigarette smoking the numbers continue to fall and is now just 19 per cent. 

Senior ONS statistician Jamie Jenkins commented: "These figures continue a long-term trend for fewer people to smoke cigarettes - only 19 per cent of adults today compared with 46 per cent when our survey began in 1976.”

Butterworth adds: “We need a sustainable source of funding to help smokers quit – including funding Stop Smoking Services and mass media campaigns. We think the tobacco industry should foot the bill and the Government should introduce a levy on their profits to pay for these services.”

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