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06 Sep 2019

Cancer Research UK is reporting that almost 1.5 billion fewer cigarettes have been smoked each year in England since 2011.

University College London (UCL) examined cigarette sales data as well as the monthly self-reported cigarette use from more than 135,000 people in the Smoking Toolkit Study, which was funded by Cancer Research UK.

The results have been published in Jama Network Open. The study found that an average of 118 million fewer cigarettes had been smoked each month between 2011 and 2018 – a drop of almost a quarter.

Dr Sarah Jackson from UCL’s tobacco and alcohol research group, said: “It’s brilliant that over a billion fewer cigarettes are being sold and smoked in England every year. Studies like this help to give us an accurate picture of cigarette consumption so we know where we’re at and what more needs to be done.”

The decline in use has been encouraged by stricter laws on tobacco marketing, and advertising aimed at encouraging people to quit smoking.

 “It’s great news that fewer cigarettes are being sold and smoked,” Cancer Research UK’s senior policy manager George Butterworth said.

“Big tobacco said that introducing stricter regulation wouldn’t work and campaigned against it but this is proof that smoking trends are heading in the right direction.

“But smoking is still the biggest preventable cause of cancer and certain groups have much higher rates of smoking, such as routine and manual workers, so we can’t stop here and think that job’s done.

“The Government committed to making the UK smoke-free by 2030. But stop-smoking services, which give smokers the best chance of quitting, have been subject to repeated cuts in recent years.”


Published: 06 Sep 2019