Ten year anniversary of smoking ban sees lowest number of smokers on record

1 July 2017        

Category: BHF Comment

Health campaigners are today celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the smoking ban  in England, which saw smoking banned in enclosed public places - including offices, factories, pubs, restaurants, railway stations, and leisure centres.

The ban - which came into effect, following similar bans in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – has led to the significant reduction in smoking rates across the country, especially among young people.

Smoking prevalence rates for adults in England are now the same as Australia, which was the first country in the world to put cigarettes in standardised ‘plain’ packaging. This is due to a faster decline in smoking in England over the last five years.

A decade on

According to a new report from public health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) to mark the anniversary, there has also been a significant growth in support for the ban over the past decade, particularly among smokers themselves,

The report shows that back in 2007 when smokefree laws in England came into effect, 78% of all respondents to the survey were in favour. In the ten years since, support has grown to 83%, primarily due to an increase in support from smokers from 40% to 55%.

The leading cause of preventable death 

Despite the decline in smoking, our Chief Executive has reaffirmed our commitment to tackling what is still the leading cause of preventable premature death.

Simon Gillespie, our Chief Executive, said: “The smoking ban – brought about by years of tireless campaigning - has helped significantly reduce smoking rates in the UK, and in turn helped to save thousands of lives. Smoke filled pubs, restaurants and public places are today nothing more than a bad memory.

“But a decade of progress can’t allow us to be complacent.  Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the UK, and the cause of many fatal heart attacks and strokes.  It’s heartening to see that the public is more supportive than ever of measures to curb smoking, and we must capitalise on this to ensure the support is available to help more people quit.”