In the UK there are now more than half a million fewer smokers than in 2015, which also equates to the country now boasting the second-lowest smoking rate in Europe after Sweden.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the amount of smokers in 2016 went down to 15.8%, from 17.2% in 2015. From these, 15.5% are thought to reside in England, 18.1% in Northern Ireland, 17.7% in Scotland and 16.9% in Wales.
“It’s now hard to believe that back in 1974 almost half of adults smoked. But now an end really is in sight and we have a real opportunity to virtually eliminate all the harm, misery and death caused by smoking,” stated Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England.
Smoking rates amongst young adults dropping the fastest
Additionally, smoking rates in young people are dropping the fastest amongst all age groups. “What is really fantastic news is that this steep decline is even greater among young adults (aged 18 to 24), where smoking has fallen by a staggering quarter since 2010, reversing a long trend.” enthused Selbie.
Tobacco Harm reduction alternatives are believed to play a major role in this steep decline, as studies have found a clear correlation between the advent of vaping products and the drop of smoking in the UK. Similarly, in Sweden impressive figures have been achieved thanks to the popularity of snus.