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Saturday 24th August 2019

Smokers halve in 40 years in the UK

8th March 2013

A new survey has shown that fewer people are smoking and many are drinking less often than they were four decades ago.


The General Lifestyle Survey has revealed that 45% of adults smoked in 1974 compared with 20% in 2011.

The proportion of men who drank alcohol at least five days a week fell from 22% in 2005 to 16% in 2011 and from 13% to 9% for women.

Alan Maryon-Davis, honorary professor of public health at King's College London, said the figures were encouraging, but there was still a long way to go.

“There is more work to be done educating the public about the dangers of drink,” he said.

“We haven’t got labelling of drinks right and there is work to be done in terms of drinks promotions and the use of social media to target young people.

“There are also issues over price and availability. We need to get rid of really cheap discounts on alcohol.”

Over the past 40 years campaigns have highlighted the dangers of smoking, along with changing attitudes towards the habit and the introduction of smoking bans.

Data indicates married people are less likely to smoke than singles, and the unemployed are more likely to smoke than people in work.

The British Lung Foundation described the fall in numbers smoking as “a testament to the effectiveness of combined legislation and awareness-raising.”


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Saturday 9th March 2013 @ 20:35

Really encouraging. With better and sustained campaigns, the figures are bound to fall further.

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