Smoking can have a serious impact on the health of your heart, brain, circulation, stomach, mouth, skin and lungs. When you some, you increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and reproductive issues.[1]

But with the arrival of October comes the effort of many to give up smoking for a whole 28 days. The UK’s history of smoking has had a lot of ups and downs, but undoubtedly one of the most significant moments was the implementation of the smoking ban.

Back in 2006, parliament voted to outlaw smoking in all workplaces, on public transport, in pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants and in shopping centres in England and Wales. The ban came into force in Scotland in March 2006, with Wales following suit in April. The ban came into effect in Northern Ireland on 30th April. England put the smoking ban into action on 1st July 2007.[2]

The impact of the smoking ban, in numbers

The 2007 smoking ban transformed the UK forever. From our social habits and attitudes to our overall health, things have certainly changed in the time since the ban’s introduction:

Changes were implemented quickly and businesses were very complaint. In the first 18 months, councils inspected 590,155 premises. Of these, 98.2% obeyed.[3]

Smoking rates have fallen significantly since the ban. Back in 1974, almost half the UK population were smokers. By 2007, just over a fifth of the population smoked. By 2016, fewer than 17% of people smoked.[4]

Fewer young people now smoke. In 2001, 18% of 11-16 year olds smoked. By 2014, around 5% smoked.[5]

Many people attribute their lack of smoking directly to the ban. YouGov reports that 14% of ex-smokers say the ban helped them quit, while 20% of current smokers say the ban helped them cut down.[6]

Bar workers showed immediate signs of improved health flowing the ban. In 2007, before the ban, more than 65% of bar workers reported respiratory concerns. In 2008, just one year later, this number had fallen to less than 40%.[7]

There is still work to do when it comes to smoking

Despite these positive changes, our fight against the dangers of smoking is far from over. Smoking is still the largest cause of cancer in the UK, and 15% of UK adults still smoke.[8] What’s more, tobacco remains the largest preventable cause of death in the world. [9] In 2015 alone, almost a fifth (19%) of all deaths from all causes in the UK were caused by smoking.[10]

Second-hand smoke is still an issue too, as an estimated 11,000 deaths occur in the UK each year as a result of second-hand smoke.[11] There is also still a clear rich and poor divide when it comes to smoking, as people from low-income households are much more likely to smoke. 19% of people with an income under £10,000 smoke, while only 10.7% of those with incomes over £40,000 smoke.[12]

Medication can help you quit this October

That’s why it’s encouraging that thousands of people every year take part in the Stoptober effort. If you’re hoping to cut down on your cigarette use this October, you can use tried and tested medication to help you find success.

Clinical trials of medications like Champix have proven just how effective they can be in smoking cessation. One study found that almost three quarters of participants using Champix successfully abstained from smoking for 52 weeks, compared to less than half of those using a placebo.[13]

You can find safe and effective smoking cessation medication like Champix right here at Express Pharmacy. Get in touch with one of our pharmacists today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] NHS UK. How smoking affects your body. 2015

[2] Politics UK. Smoking Ban. 2019

[3] Local Government Association. A breath of fresh air: smoke-free workplaces 10 years on. 2017

[4] Office of National Statistics. Adult smoking habits in Great Britain. 2017.

[5] NHS Digital. Statistics on Smoking, England. 2019

[6] Action on Smoking and Health. England a decade after the smoking ban – heading for a smoke-free future. 2017

[7] Triggle, N. Pub smoking ban: 10 charts that show the impact. BBC. 2017

[8] Cancer Research UK. Tobacco Statistics. 2018

[9] World Lung Foundation. The Tobacco Atlas. 2018

[10] Peto, R., Lopez, A., Boreham, J. et al. Mortality from smoking in developed countries 1950-2020. 2015

[11] Jamrozik, K. Estimate of deaths attributable to passive smoking among UK adults: database analysis. British Medical Journal. 2005

[12] Office of National Statistics. Likelihood of smoking four times higher in England’s most deprived areas than least deprived. 2018

[13] Ebbert, J. et al. Varenicline for smoking cessation: efficacy, safety, and treatment recommendations. Patient Preference and Adherence. 2010