Smoking drops to its lowest level while use of e-cigarettes increases

Smoking drops to its lowest level while use of e-cigarettes increases

Smoking amongst adults in the UK is at its lowest point since records began in 2011, however the use of electronic cigarettes is rising.

According to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, the number of adults who smoke across the UK has dropped to its lowest recorded level.

Approximately 6.4 million people (12.9%) aged 18 and over smoked cigarettes, with the Northern Ireland figures sitting at 14.0% – about 200,000 people.

People aged 25 to 34 years of age had the highest proportion of current smokers in the UK, at 16.3%, while those aged 65 and over had the lowest (8.3%) in 2022.

In the UK, 14.6% of men smoked compared with 11.2% of women – this difference has been consistent since 2011, the ONS observed.


In relation to the use of electronic cigarettes, the data shows their use is highest amongst those aged 16 to 24 years old, with the percentage of people in this age group who were daily or occasional vapers in 2022 increasing to 15.5%, compared to 11.1% in 2021.

The ONS noted that changes in e-cigarette usage were particularly evident in younger females, with a statistically significant increase in the proportion of women aged 16 to 24 who were daily e-cigarette users in 2022 (6.7%) compared with 2021 (1.9%).

Produced in partnership with the Office for Health Improvements and Disparities, the publication is part of a cross-government approach to improve the coherence of statistics on tobacco and e-cigarette use.

Based on Annual Population Survey (APS) data, the proportion of current smokers in the UK in 2022 was 12.9% and is a 7.3 percentage point decrease in current smokers compared with 2011 (20.2%) of the population.

Since 2011, there has been a statistically significant decline in the proportion of current smokers in all four nations across the UK.