Health of Scotland’s population - Smoking

Smoking

Cigarette smoking is the world's leading cause of preventable poor health and premature death1. In Scotland, tobacco use is associated with over 13,000 deaths (around a quarter of all deaths) and around 56,000 hospital admissions every year2. Although smoking prevalence in Scotland has decreased gradually over time, reducing smoking further remains a priority for improving health in Scotland.

In 2013, the Scottish Government’s 5 year tobacco control strategy, Creating a Tobacco-Free Generation, set a target to reduce smoking prevalence in Scotland to 5 per cent or less by 2034. The Strategy sets out a range of measures to support young people to choose not to smoke, to protect people from second hand smoke and continue to support those who do smoke to quit. The actions taken by the Scottish Government to tackle the harm caused by tobacco include legislation to prohibit smoking in public places which came into effect in March 2006, raising the age of sale for tobacco from 16 to 18 in 2007, implementation of a tobacco retail register in 2011, a ban on self-service sales from vending machines in 2013, and the introduction of a tobacco display ban in shops from 2013.

The chart below shows the trend in proportion of adults saying they smoke between 1999 and 2013.  Smoking prevalence has declined from 30.7 per cent of adults in 1999 to 23.1 per cent in 2013.  The rate has remained at around 23 per cent each year since 2011.

Whether respondent smokes by year

Smoking rates to 2013

View chart data

Source: Scottish Household Survey

The Scottish Government has also established a National Indicator to reduce the percentage of adults who smoke.

1. Koplan J.P. and Mackay J. (2012). Curtailing tobacco use: first we need to know the numbers. The Lancet 380 (9842):629-30.

2. ScotPHO Smoking Ready Reckoner - 2011 Edition. See: http://www.scotpho.org.uk/publications/reports-and-papers/868-smoking-ready-reckoner.

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