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A newly-released survey which examines the health of people in Wales shows a 1% decrease in smoking rates to 19% compared to last year.

The annual Welsh Health Survey for 2015 shows on average 19% of adults currently smoke, compared to 20% in 2014. Smoking rates were highest among 25 to 34 year olds at 27% and men were more likely to smoke (21%) than women (18%).

For the first time e-cigarette use was included in the survey, which showed 6% of respondents currently use an e-cigarette, equating to 140,000 of the Welsh population. This is in-line with recent findings from a UK-wide survey which said 2.8 million Britons (6%) currently vape.

However, the survey also showed smoking rates in the most deprived areas was significantly greater than in the more affluent.  A total of 29% of those classed as ‘most deprived’ smoke, compared to just 11% of those classed as ‘least deprived’.  The survey showed smoking rates in the most deprived areas had remained static whilst there was a significant 2% fall in the numbers of people smoking from the most affluent areas.

For example, smoking rates in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire are as low as 16%, whereas in Blaenau Gwent 26% of residents smoke.

Suzanne Cass, Chief Executive of ASH Wales Cymru said,

“It is great to see smoking rates gradually decreasing on average by 1% every year for the past 3 years after remaining stubbornly static from 2007 to 2012, decreasing by just 1% over the entire 6 years. No doubt this is partly due to the surge in e-cigarette use among those wanting to quit tobacco or reduce their harm.”
“It is clear from this survey, however, that much more progress is needed. The marked difference in smoking rates between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ is a real cause for concern. It is imperative that these communities are engaged and fully supported every step of their journey to becoming smokefree. They need tailored advice and, crucially, specific support to suit their circumstances.”

The survey carried out annually by the Welsh Government looks at health status, illnesses, lifestyle, health service use and the health of children and analysed data from more than 13,000 respondents.


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