Number of British smokers falls to lowest in 80 years

Number of smokers falls to new lowPic: Getty

The number of Britons who still smoke has fallen to its lowest figure for some 80 years, according to a new survey.

The poll of 22,167 adults in the UK, revealed that only 19.3 per cent of Brits were still lighting up in 2013, and it is hoped that potential new regulations surrounding smoking in cars and standardised packaging may reduce the number of smokers even further.

According to a letter sent by Jamie Brown and Robert West, from University College London, to the British Medical Journal, back in 1962, when doctors first published a report detailing the health issues associated with smoking, more than 70 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women smoked.

The decline in the number of smokers began in the 1970s, and now researchers hope that breaking the 20 per cent barrier "will motivate smoking cessation efforts across the country, including making more use of our stop smoking services".

Last week, MPs voted in favour of measures to make it illegal to smoke in cars carrying children, and they also backed plans to make cigarette packaging plain and standardised.

Alison Cox, head of tobacco policy at Cancer Research UK, welcomed the latest figures, telling the Daily Mail: "It's very encouraging to see this snapshot of the number of smokers in England. Reassuringly, the figures are going down but it's vital to remember the many millions of people who remain addicted to a lethal product. Half of all long-term users will die from smoking."

Ms Cox added: "We urge the Government to take the next steps to make standard packaging a reality as soon as possible."

What do you think? Will plain packaging further reduce the number of smokers in the UK, and help to prevent young people from taking up the habit? Leave your comments below...