In Process - United Kingdom - decline in tobacco product use..

January 23, 2009 - Twenty one percent of British adults ‘now’ smoke cigarettes, down from 22 per cent a year earlier, according figures from the Office for National Statistics' General Household Survey 2007. A record 59 percent have now never taken up the habit. In 1974, 45 per cent of adults smoked cigarettes. The use of other tobacco products has declined even more significantly.

Experts say the lower rates of smoking show that the Government's ban on smoking in pubs and workplaces in July 2007, and the placing of ever more graphic warnings on cigarette packets, are working.

Cigarette use is slightly more common among men, with 22 per cent smoking compared with 20 per cent of women. Half say they started when they were under 16, and most claim to smoke fewer than 20 cigarettes a day. There is also a class divide among smokers, with more than a quarter (27 per cent) of those in manual work smoking compared with just 15 per cent of the professional classes.

The survey showed that young people are more likely to smoke than the old. The habit is most prevalent among 20 to 24 year-olds (with 31 per cent smoking), falling to just 12 per cent among the over-60s. The proportion of teenage boys who smoke rose slightly between 2006 and 2007, from 20 to 22 per cent.

Professor John Britton, Chair of the Tobacco Advisory Group, said: "The problem remains in preventing people from taking up the habit in the first place, seen by the rise in the number of men aged 16 to 19 smoking."

Japan Tobacco International (JT) and Imperial Tobacco, dominate the UK tobacco market with an 80% share by value. British American Tobacco (BAT) is the world's second-largest cigarette company and is increasingly focused on fast-growing developing markets rather than advanced economies where smoking is in decline. BAT has a 5% share of the UK market largely through its Rothmans brand.

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Reference: Lowest ever number of smokers after public ban and health campaigns by Martin Beckford, Social Affairs Correspondent,, 1/23/2009.