10 Years After Smoking Ban, Number of UK Smokers Falls to Record Low

Health campaigners are celebrating the 10th anniversary of smoke-free legislation in England, saying it has had one of the biggest impacts on public health over the last decade.

According to Cancer Research UK, the number of smokers in Britain has fallen by 1.9 million since the smoking ban was introduced in England a decade ago.

Smoking rates were now the lowest ever recorded – praising the ban as having one of the biggest impacts on public health of the last decade.

More importantly, the legislation is suspected to have caused a dramatic drop in smoking among 16 to 24 years old. Adolescent smoking dropped from 26% to 17%, which is the lowest it has ever been.

The organization also conducted a poll to more than 4,300 people regarding the smoking ban and they noted that most people feel the ban has been positive, with only 8% who think this change has made no difference to them or to public spaces.

The most commonly identified benefit was that people’s clothes do not smell of smoke after a night out (67%), followed by restaurants and pubs are now more family-friendly (66%).

Almost six in 10 (57%) agree that the health of hospitality workers has improved, and almost four in 10 (38%) say their own health has also benefited from the reduced exposure to second hand smoke.

20% of smokers said the ban had helped them cut down the number of cigarettes they smoke, and an impressive 14% of ex-smokers credit the ban with helping them quit altogether.

Almost four in 10 (38%) people across the UK believe that the ban has also helped protect the next generation from taking up smoking.

Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said via Good News Network: “We’re thrilled that 10 years on, the smoking ban has been such an enormous success.”

“Cancer Research UK worked incredibly hard for many years to ensure that the law would be effective and that no one would be exposed to toxic second-hand smoke. The impact on public health is huge. It’s rewarding to know that this effort will go on to have a great impact on the health of future generations.

“As well as protecting people from the deadly effects of passive smoking, we’ve also seen big changes in public attitudes towards smoking. It’s now far less socially acceptable and we hope this means fewer young people will fall into such a potentially lethal addiction.”