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Proportion of cigarette smokers by sex



  • Office for National Statistics – Adult smoking habits in Great Britain
  • Smoking data prior to 1974 from Wald, N. and Nicolaides-Bouman, A. (1991) UK Smoking Statistics. 2nd edition, Oxford University Press.


  • All persons aged 16 and over.
  • 1974 to 1998 data unweighted, 2000 to 2021 data weighted.
  • Data on cigarette use were collected on a 2-yearly basis prior to 2000.
  • Estimates prior to 2005 are based on a fiscal year rather than a calendar year.
  • Estimates for 2004 and 2005 both include the period 1 January 2005 to 31 March 2005 as a result of a change in survey period from a fiscal year to a calendar year.
  • Estimates for 2006 to 2011 include longitudinal data.
  • Weighted bases are given to the nearest thousand.
  • From 20 March 2020 the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) became weekly, to understand the impact COVID-19 on life in Great Britain. As a result of this change, the sample size was significantly increased in 2020.
  • From 25 August 2021, as Great Britain moved to a period where COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted, the OPN covered roughly fortnightly periods.


Key dates 
1962Publication: Smoking and Health - Royal College of Physicians
The report often cited as the beginning of changes in attitudes towards smoking.
Television Act
The Government used the 1964 Television Act to ban commercials from advertising cigarettes. (Introduced in 1965)
Introduction of health warnings on packaging
Introduced government warnings onto all cigarette packaging.
Health Act
Banned smoking in enclosed public spaces. (Introduced in 2007)



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