Shropshire smokers starting to stub the habit
The popularity of smoking is dwindling in Shropshire, with the number of people still lighting up falling to new lows.
National figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 17.2 per cent of British adults smoked in 2015 – the lowest level since records began in 1974.
That figure is reflected in the data for Shropshire, where just 14.6 per cent of people smoke, compared with 19 per cent in 2012.
Telford & Wrekin has also seen a fall in its figures, but is ahead of the national rate, with 18.2 per cent of adults still sparking up, down from 21.9 per cent in 2012.
Statisticians said the prevalence of smoking in the population is reflected in the numbers who have quit.
Data for smoking habits across Britain in 2015 show that among former smokers, 56.7 per cent had quit – the highest proportion of quitters since 1974.
The percentage of people who have never smoked in Shropshire has also improved, with 45.2 per cent of people in Telford and 47.3 per cent in the wider county having never picked up the habit – compared with 41.9 and 43.2 per cent in 2012.
British smokers are also consuming the lowest number of cigarettes on average in more than four decades. Smokers consume an average of 11.3 cigarettes a day.
This average daily consumption is 33 per cent lower than when consumption peaked in 1976.
More men than women were smokers in 2015 – 19.3 per cent of men and 15.3 per cent of women smoked.
"The popularity of smoking in Great Britain has dwindled over the past 40 years," the ONS report said.
"Generally, the prevalence of smoking among the population in Great Britain has fallen and this is reflected in the data on people who have quit.
"In 2015, of those aged 16 years and above who had previously smoked 56.7 per cent had quit - the highest proportion of quitters since 1974."
Smoking was more common among those earning less than £10,000 a year and those seeking employment.
The ONS data also examines figures on e-cigarettes.
In 2015, 2.3 million people in Great Britain used e-cigarettes – for half of these, "vaping" is used as a means to quit smoking.
Of the former e-cigarette users in Great Britain, around half said they currently smoke cigarettes and 14.4 per cent of the current users said they also smoked cigarettes.
The report added: "In 2015, of all adults in the UK 17.2 per cent smoked, down from 20.1 per cent of adults who smoked in 2010."
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