The latest survey findings by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that Scotland has the highest smoking prevalence aiming adult in the United Kingdom in 2014.
The Integrated Household Survey categorized the adult population into 5 age groups from young adult age group of 18-24 to old age of 65 and above. The survey also discovered that Scotland has the highest prevalence among the 35-49 and 50-64 age group.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and premature deaths in the UK. In 2012, more than 475,000 hospital admission is attributed to smoking related illnesses and has led to more than 75,000 deaths, majority of them within the age range of 35 and above.
This has prompted the government to implement a range of measures from gazetting public areas as no smoking zones to increasing prices via tax hike to reduce smoking prevalence by 2034. The Scottish government has recently enforce a ban on smoking in cars with children to reduce exposure of second hand smoke which may lead to health complications.
England is recorded to have the highest smoking prevalence among young adults. This reflects previous reports by the ONS where students and graduates who are seeking jobs are twice as likely to develop smoking habits. Other contributing factors to this trend includes access to electronic cigarettes and flavored tobacco which has saw widespread use among young adults and experienced smokers.
Electronic cigarettes is currently recognized as a more healthier alternative to conventional cigarettes due to non emission of second hand smoke and low levels and other hazardous chemicals normally found in tobacco filled cigarettes. The public acceptance to this product is further bolstered by claims made by Public Health England which states that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than tobacco.
The UK government has recently considered including e-cigarettes as part of the National Health Services (NHS) stop smoking prescriptions. “The Government believes vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking. We encourage medicinal license applications”, said public health minister Jane Ellison in a report by The Mirror UK.
The general pattern which can be observed from the survey findings is the decreasing in smoking prevalence which correlates with the progress of age. Smoking prevalence rate among the 18-24 age group is reduced by half among the 65 and above age group.
This reflects the increasing premature deaths among smokers and increased awareness of the health risks related to smoking.