LONDON, (PNA/Xinhua) — Britain has seen decline in the number of cigarette smokers with the adult smoking rate keeping dropping in the past nine years, according to a survey report issued by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday.
Figures showed that one in five adults aged 16 or above in Britain were cigarette smokers last year.
The proportion of adults smoking declined to 20 percent in 2012 from 45 percent in 1974 when the lifestyle survey first included a question about smoking.
The survey found that most of the decline in smoking happened between 1974 and 1994, and continued to fall between 1994 and 2007, but at a much slower rate.
However, from 2007 to 2012 the rate of smoking has remained largely unchanged.
But smoking rates varied by whether people were in employment or not, said the ONS.
Unemployed people were twice as likely to smoke as those either in employment or economically inactive such as students or retired people.
Over half of unemployed young people aged between 25 and 34 were cigarette smokers.
Also, smoking rates differ by adults’ socio-economic status, with highest rate falling on the routine and manual occupations such as bar staff and delivery drivers at 33 percent in 2012, and the lowest in managerial and professional occupations such as accounting and teaching at 14 percent.
Figures indicated that smoking claims 80,000 lives per year in England.
The British government has taken the work of reducing smoking as a key objective of its policy on improving health.
Britain has introduced a range of tobacco control legislation in recent years including smoke-free legislation, raising the age of sale for tobacco products from 16 to 18, and ending the permanent display of tobacco products in supermarkets.