40 years of smoking in Great Britain

The proportion of male smokers has dropped to its lowest levels in 40 years.

On No Smoking Day, the annual push to help smokers in Great Britain kick the habit, ONS reveals the number of male smokers has reduced from 51% in 1974 to 20% in 2014.

For women it was 41% in 1974, compared with 17% in 2014.

What else has changed between 1974 and 2014?

40 years of smoking in the UK
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Across all age groups men were more likely to smoke than women.Non Smoking Day-02

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There has also been a drop in the number of cigarettes smoked daily.

On average, men smoke 1.7 more cigarettes a day, compared to women. While those aged 25 to 34 are the most likely to smoke, they smoked the lowest amount per day – at 9.6 cigarettes – while smokers aged 50 to 59 smoked the most at 13.4 cigarettes a day.

Men aged 60 and over and women aged 50 to 59 bucked the downward trend in cigarette smoking between 2013 and 2014 by lighting up more. The men increased their consumption from 13.7 to 14.6, while the women’s use rose from 12.0 to 12.3.

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Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Great Britain, causing almost 80,000 deaths in England in 2013, according to Adult Smoking Habits in Great Britain 2014. Estimates from the Welsh Government put the annual death toll at 5,500, whereas the Scottish Government estimates 13,500.

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In 2014, 55% of men who had previously smoked had quit, compared with 54% of women.

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For more information, please contact: socialsurveys@ons.gsi.gov.uk