ASH Report: Rise in Adult Smoking Rates in UK

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ASH Report: Rise in Adult Smoking Rates in UK
British e-cigarette smoking rates are stable among teens, but reach record highs among adults, according to ASH data.

According to the latest data from the UK's Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the rate of e-cigarette smoking among adolescents has stabilized, while the smoking rate among adults has reached a record high.


According to ASH's annual survey, the smoking rate of e-cigarettes among adults in the UK has increased from 9% in 2023 to 11%. However, the smoking rate of e-cigarettes among 11-17 year olds has not increased, with 7.6% of teenagers occasionally or regularly smoking e-cigarettes, and 17% of teenagers who have ever smoked e-cigarettes, which is consistent with the levels in 2023.


The ASH survey was conducted by YouGov from February to March 2024, with the data presented at the Washington International E-Cigarette Summit. The survey included a sample of 13,266 adults aged 18 and over in the UK, and 2,349 adolescents aged 11 to 17.


The American Society of Health (ASH) stated, "Although the growth rate of e-cigarette use among teenagers seems to have slowed down, we cannot take it lightly. The number of e-cigarette users in the 11-17 age group has increased significantly compared to before the pandemic (7.6% in 2024, 4.4% in 2019). Teenagers are still greatly influenced by e-cigarette advertising, with only 19% saying they haven't seen any e-cigarette ads. Adolescents are most likely to see e-cigarette ads in stores (55%) and online (29%), with TikTok being the most common platform for e-cigarette promotions among the 11-17 age group.


In addition to assessing the use of e-cigarettes among adults and adolescents, ASH also evaluated the public's understanding of the relative safety of smoking compared to using e-cigarettes. Half of adults (50%) and over half of adolescents aged 11-17 (58%) believe that using e-cigarettes is harmful to health, even more so than smoking traditional cigarettes.


Hazel Cheeseman, Deputy Chief Executive of ASH, stated: "The Tobacco and E-Cigarette Bill contains the necessary provisions to reduce youth smoking rates and must be implemented swiftly. However, it is also crucial to help adults quit smoking for the health of children. We hope that 2024 will be a turning point where youth smoking decreases and awareness improves on how e-cigarettes can help the UK's 6 million smokers quit.


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