RCP president Professor Jane Dacre comments on new figures, released by NHS Digital, on the prevalence of smoking by UK adults.
Professor Dacre said:
The RCP welcomes these latest data demonstrating a significant further fall in smoking prevalence among UK adults. Smoking is the biggest avoidable cause of death and disability in the UK, and the RCP has campaigned for over 50 years for the changes in policy and practice necessary to defeat this major health challenge.
Over the past 10 years the RCP has championed the use of harm reduction approaches for smokers who are unwilling or otherwise unable to quit smoking. In our report Nicotine without smoke published last year we argued that electronic cigarettes, by offering smokers an opportunity to continue to use nicotine without exposure to the tobacco smoke that kills, represent a massive potential opportunity to improve public health. These new figures, the latest in a series of substantial falls in smoking prevalence over the past few years, tell us that this and other UK approaches to tobacco control are working.
We should continue to develop and exploit harm reduction for public health gain, and encourage as many smokers as possible to either quit altogether, or else switch to a low risk product.
For more information please contact RCP senior communications adviser Morgan Evans: