Just one in 10 will smoke in 2023, predicts PHE

Public Health England (PHE) has estimated that only one in 10 people will smoke in five years’ time, as the number of smokers continues to fall.

It said of the 6.1 million smokers in England in 2017, six in 10 want to quit. However, most try to rely on willpower alone, despite PHE suggesting this is the least effective method.

Since 2014, the number of smokers has fallen by 1 million. The percentage of the adult population who smoke is expected to reduce further over the next five years, from the current rate of 14.9% to 10% by 2023.

PHE said half of those who quit smoking in 2017 and 2018 used local stop smoking services, together with stop smoking aids such as inhalers or patches. The success rate increased to 63% for those who also used an e-cigarette in their attempt to quit.

“There are many different types of stop smoking support available, so it can be difficult for a smoker to know what will work best for them,” said Dr Jenny Harries, deputy medical director at PHE. “The important thing is not to be put off trying to quit even if you have not managed to in the past.”

Sarah Mirfin, lifestyle officer at charity Heart Research UK, said: “Giving up smoking is one of the best things that a person can do to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

“Smoking is also a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which is the single biggest killer in the UK, being responsible for almost 70,000 deaths every year.

“Various strategies in recent years have drastically reduced the number of smokers in the UK, and these new stats are a testament to the work that has been done by countless people.”

As part of its “Stoptober” campaign this year, which kicks off next month and encourages people to go smoke-free for 28 days, PHE is offering a free “Personal Quit Plan”. The online service will ask a number of questions about their habit and will suggest a method of quitting based on their level of tobacco dependency and the support methods they have tried previously.

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