Puffed out: Fewer people in Islington smoking

Islington saw a fall in the rate of adult smokers last year, new figures show.

By Sonja Tutty, Data Reporter

Updated: 17.56 on 29th December 2022

A lit cigarette burns on a railing
Photo by Andres Siimon on Unsplash

Office for National Statistics figures recorded the lowest proportion of smokers in the UK to date, with e-cigarettes playing a “major role” in the decline.

The ONS data shows 11.5% of people aged over 18 in Islington were smokers in 2021, down from 20.3% the year before. It was also a fall from 13.4% five years ago.

Last year, a further 20.7% of adults in the area were ex-smokers while 67.8% had never smoked.

Men in Islington smoked more than women with 15.4% taking up cigarettes, while 6.1% of women smoked.

Hazel Cheeseman, deputy chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, welcomed the overall fall in smoking levels, but said the Government must not become “complacent”.

Ms Cheeseman added that without a new tobacco plan from the Government, “the vision of being smoke free by 2030” will not be met.

The current tobacco control plan aims to reduce smoking prevalence among adults in England to 12% or less by the end of 2022.

Regionally, 11.5% of adults in London were smokers with those aged from 35 to 44 (12.9%) making up the highest proportion of smokers.

Across the UK, 13.3% of adults smoked cigarettes in 2021, down from 14.0% last year and a significant fall from 20.2% a decade ago.

The ONS said the increase in people taking up e-cigarettes has played a “major role” in the fall with a separate survey finding 7.7% of those aged 16 and over in Great Britain last year used an e-cigarette daily or occasionally.

It was an increase from 2020, when 6.2% of people reported daily or occasional e-cigarette use.

The survey found that the proportion of vapers was highest among current cigarette smokers (24.6%) and ex-cigarette smokers (14.8%), with only 1.7% of people who have never smoked reporting that they vaped.

David Fothergill, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said that councils can help deliver the ambition of eliminating smoking in England by 2030, but needed certainty over long-term funding.

Mr Fothergill added: “Reducing smoking rates among the remaining 5.4 million smokers in England is the single biggest thing we can do to improve the nation’s health.”

This story was updated at 17.56 on 29th December 2022. It wrongly claimed “Women in Islington smoked more than men with 6.1% taking up cigarettes, while 15.4% of men smoked.This has now been amended.

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