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The UK’s smoking rate is falling, but the country’s smokers are getting less and less interested in smoking, according to a new study.
The National Health Service has recorded a sharp drop in cigarette smoking over the past few years, but smokers still spend an estimated £15 billion a year on tobacco, with many struggling to quit.
Researchers at the University of East Anglia’s School of Public Health and Health Policy have looked at the history of tobacco smoking in the UK and found that smoking is far less common among the younger generation.
Smoking among younger adults is also lower than that of the elderly, the researchers found, and that the rate of smokers quitting smoking has dropped sharply.
It is not clear why smokers are less likely to quit, the research suggests, but it could be due to the fact that the number of cigarettes in the shop is less likely for younger people to buy.
Dr Simon Blackburn, a senior lecturer in epidemiology at the university’s School for Public Health, said the study could be of some help to smokers.
“The main issue is we have an ageing population, which means we are not getting the support that we need to be smoking less,” he said.
Smoking and health policy Although smoking rates have fallen, smoking prevalence is still higher than the rate among adults overall. “
It is important that we get support for smokers as well, particularly young people who are struggling to get a grip on their smoking and are looking for some relief.”
Smoking and health policy Although smoking rates have fallen, smoking prevalence is still higher than the rate among adults overall.
The report found that between 2005 and 2014, the rate for the first time surpassed that of children.
Dr Blackburn said the smoking rate among young people was very high.
“It has to be recognised that, on average, in the last decade, young people have had the highest smoking rates in the country,” he told New Scientist.
“That is because they tend to have the highest number of smoking-related illnesses, so the rates are higher than adults overall.”
He added that smoking rates for young people had been on a downward trend since 2006.
“One of the main reasons for that is that the government’s strategy has not been very effective at tackling smoking,” he explained.
Dr Ian Stewart, a member of the British Heart Foundation’s Tobacco Policy Unit, said smoking was one of the leading causes of premature death.
“I think smoking causes about 500,000 premature deaths every year in the developed world, and this is by far the biggest killer of people in this country,” Dr Stewart said.
It was estimated that up to three million smokers die every year worldwide.
Dr Stewart, who chairs the British Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Taskforce, said that tobacco was a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
He said it was a “public health catastrophe” that smoking could prevent some of these problems.
“Smoking is the single most important cause of death in this UK, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all deaths,” Dr Martin Jervis, director of the International Tobacco Control Research Unit at the Wellcome Trust, told New Zealand’s ABC radio.
“What we are trying to do here is put together a strategy that can be effective at reducing the health risks and promoting a healthier life.”
But there was a catch: the strategy should include tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, but also products that can reduce the risk of heart disease, such a diet and exercise.
Dr Jervs said it is too early to say if the strategy would be effective.
“We need to know what is working and what isn’t,” he added.
“But we have a lot of work to do and it will be important to see if this is effective.”
The findings of the study are published in the journal Preventive Medicine.