By 2023 only 1 in 10 adults in England will smoke, according to predictions from Public Health England (PHE).
New figures, released at the launch of PHE’s annual stop smoking campaign Stoptober, show the number of smokers in England has fallen by more than a million since 2014.
Around 15 in 100 adults in England currently smoke.
PHE urged those looking to quit tobacco not to go ‘cold turkey’ without support. Instead, the health body said smokers should consider the range of nicotine replacement options and support available at Stop Smoking Services to get a better chance of succeeding.
E-cigarettes are the most popular aid used for stopping smoking in England – with recent data estimating there are now around 3.2 million vapers in Great Britain, the majority of whom are ex-smokers.
Smoking: the biggest preventable cause of cancer
Kruti Shrotri, Cancer Research UK’s tobacco control policy manager, said: “It’s great that Stoptober is back to encourage smokers to quit.
“Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of cancer and stopping is the best thing a smoker can do for their health.”
The new estimates come from PHE’s Health Profile for England report, which states if smoking rates continue to decline, there will be between 9 and 11 in 100 people smoking by 2023.
No need to go ‘cold turkey’
There are currently 6.1 million smokers in England and according to PHE around 6 in 10 of them want to quit.
This year the Stoptober campaign encourages smokers to not come off nicotine straight away. Evidence suggests going ‘cold turkey’ without support can impact a person’s chance of successfully stopping altogether. Instead, PHE suggests combining expert help from local Stop Smoking Services with stop smoking aids to give smokers the best possible chance of success.
But Shrotri said Government funding cuts have put these services at risk, with many having to close.
Government should increase funding for public health and the NHS needs to increase its offer of stop smoking support so that all smokers across the country can access the best support to help them stop smoking, she said.
Personalised quit plan
Stoptober offers an online “Personal Quit Plan” to help smokers find the right support to help them kick the habit.
The new webpage questionnaire recommends a range of options to smokers, including face-to-face support, nicotine replacement therapies like patches, gum or inhalers, and e-cigarettes.
Dr Jenny Harries, deputy medical director at PHE, said: “There are many different types of stop smoking support available, so it can be difficult for a smoker to know what will work best for them.”
She said it’s important to not be put off trying to quit even if you have not managed to in the past.
According to Shrotri, Cancer Research UK urges all smokers to find out what best suits them to help break their addiction.
“This year, Stoptober can help you find a combination that could work for you,” Harries added.
Stoptober started in 2012 and is based on research that shows if smokers go for 28 days without a cigarette then they’re five times more likely to quit for good.