Fact Sheets

The ASH Fact Sheet series consists of detailed referenced information and statistics on a variety of topics.

The following fact sheets have been recently added or updated:
02: Smoking statistics: Illness & death (June 2016)
15: Smoking and mental health (March 2016)
30: Smoking in cars (Mar 2016)
01: Smoking statistics: Who smokes and how much (Feb 2016)


Facts at a Glance
In a hurry? The five PDFs below offer brief overviews of key tobacco issues. These themes are explored in more detail in the referenced, detailed Fact Sheets further below.

Smoking Statistics
More than 9 million adults in Great Britain smoke cigarettes: 20% of men and 17% of women. Two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18.

Tobacco Regulation
Key facts covering consumer protection, child protection, smoking in public places, tax and tobacco advertising.

Tobacco Economics
Smoking costs the National Health Service (NHS) approximately £2 billion a year for treating diseases caused by smoking. About 77% of the price of a packet of cigarettes consists of taxation.

Smoking and Disease
Smoking causes around 80% of deaths from lung cancer, around 80% of deaths from bronchitis and emphysema, and about 14% of deaths from heart disease. More than a quarter of all cancer deaths can be attributed to smoking.

Implementation of the smokefree law
Provides an overview of the smokefree legislation including details of enforcement, exemptions and penalties.

Click on the pdf/html image links on the left to download free versions which you can view online or print. Alternatively, if you would like us to send you hard copies, please visit our shop

Please note that the fact sheet on pipe and cigar smoking (no.13) has been archived. The last edition was published in January 2010 and is available for research purposes only at: http://www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/target/101048


01: Smoking Statistics: Who Smokes and How Much
Smoking statistics in Great Britain - includes statistics on numbers of smokers, tobacco consumption and dependence on smoking.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 09/06/2016

02: Smoking Statistics: Illness and Death
Smoking is the primary cause of preventable illness and premature death. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and reduces both quality of life as well as life expectancy.  Half of all life-long smokers die prematurely losing on average 10 years of life.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 10/06/2016

03: Young People and Smoking
Since the late 1990s there has been a fall in smoking among 11-15 year olds after at least two decades of little change. Children are more likely to smoke if their parents smoke and parents' attitude to smoking is also an important factor. 
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 27/07/2015

04: Smoking and Cancer
It is estimated that in the UK one in three people will develop cancer at some stage in their lives and that one in four will die from the disease. More than one quarter of all cancer deaths in the UK are attributable to smoking.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 08/07/2013

05: Smoking and Respiratory Disease
Smoking is the most important factor in the development of respiratory diseases. In England one-third of deaths from respiratory disorders are attributable to cigarette consumption. Globally COPD is the fourth most common cause of death and is caused primarily by smoking.  
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 27/04/2015

06: Smoking, The Heart and Circulation
Cardiovascular disease refers to disorders of the heart and circulatory system. Smoking causes around 25,000 deaths from heart and circulatory disease in the UK each year.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 19/12/2013

07: Smoking and Reproduction
Cigarette smoking can affect fertility in both women and men, sexual function in men, pregnant women's health, the health of an unborn child, and the health of young children.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 30/08/2013

08: Secondhand Smoke
Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals in the form of particles and gases. Breathing other people's smoke is called passive, involuntary or secondhand smoking. Health impacts range from eye irritation, headache, cough, sore throat, to heart disease and lung cancer.  
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 26/02/2014

09: Nicotine and Addiction
A comprehensive look at why and how nicotine is so addictive. This factsheet examines the mental and physical aspects of nicotine addiction. 
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 27/01/2016

10: How Smoking Affects the Way You Look
Tobacco smoking seriously affects internal organs, particularly the heart and lungs, but it also affects a person's appearance by altering the skin, body weight and shape.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 26/02/2014

11: Stopping smoking: the benefits and aids to quitting
The health benefits of stopping smoking start within hours of putting out the last cigarette.  Using a combination of medication and behavioural support can substantially increase the chances of successfully quitting.  
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 10/09/2014

12: What's in a cigarette?
Cigarettes look deceptively simple, consisting of paper tubes containing chopped up tobacco leaf, usually with a filter at the mouth end. In fact, they are highly engineered products, designed to deliver a steady dose of nicotine to the smoker.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 27/10/2014

14: Smokefree Legislation
Smoking has been prohibited by law in virtually all enclosed and substantially enclosed work and public places throughout the United Kingdom since July 2007. This factsheet provides an overview of the law together with related information including surveys showing levels of support for smokefree measures.     
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 17/04/2015

15: Smoking and Mental Health
There is a strong association between smoking and mental health conditions.  However, people with mental health conditions are generally able to quit smoking if they are given evidenced-based suport.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 31/03/2016

16: The Economics of Tobacco
The costs of smoking to the economy include the expense of treating diseases caused by smoking as well as reduced productivity and environmental costs.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 22/12/2015

17: Illicit Trade in Tobacco
Illicit tobacco reduces the public health impact of tobacco tax rises and increases demand for tobacco products. 
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 13/04/2015

18: The UK Tobacco Industry
British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco, the world's second and fourth largest tobacco companies (excluding the Chinese state tobacco monopoly) are based in the UK. 
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 16/11/2015

19: Tobacco Advertising and Promotion in the UK
Most conspicuous forms of tobacco advertising and promotion in the UK were banned following the implementation of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002. However, the tobacco industry has continued to promote its products through packaging and "below the line" marketing.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 28/08/2015

20: Tobacco and the European Union
Tobacco is the single largest cause of avoidable death in the European Union accounting for nearly 700,000 deaths each year - about one in seven of all deaths across the EU. This fact sheet summarises tobacco control policy formulated by the European Union.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 21/11/2014

21: Tobacco in the Developing World
Globally smoking prevalence has declined but there is considerable variation between countries. The greatest reductions have been in high-income countries while some developing nations have experienced only slight reductions or an increase in smoking prevalence. 
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 21/08/2015

22: Tobacco and the Environment
From growing the tobacco plant to the disposal of butts and packaging, the whole life cycle of a cigarette takes a heavy toll on the environment. Although the ecological impacts of tobacco are overshadowed by its devastating effects on human health, they are nevertheless considerable and a cause for concern.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 22/09/2015

23: Smoking and Diabetes
People with diabetes are at greater risk of raised blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage and eye damage. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that smoking is an independent risk factor for diabetes and that among people with diabetes, smoking aggravates the risk of serious disease and premature death.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 07/07/2015

24: Stopping smoking - ASH'S 15 Tips
ASH's top tips to help you stop smoking.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 04/09/2014

25: Secondhand smoke in the home.
Children's exposure to secondhand smoke is most likely to take place in the home.  Banning smoking in the home is the only reliable way of reducing exposure to secondhand smoke as partial restrictions are not effective.  
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 17/04/2015

26: Tobacco and Ethnic Minorities
Smoking rates vary considerably between ethnic groups. This factsheet examines the different uses of tobacco and tobacco consumption rates of ethnic minorities in the UK.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 15/09/2011

27: Smoking and Eye Disease
Smoking can worsen several eye disorders, particuarly cataracts and age related macular degeneration (AMD), and may lead to blindness.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 21/05/2014

28: Waterpipes
Waterpipes, also known as hookahs, narghiles, shisha or hubble-bubble pipes have long been used for smoking tobacco in the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia and are now increasingly used in Western countries. 
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 14/10/2015



30: Smoking in Cars
Levels of secondhand smoke in cars can be extremely high due to the restricted space in which the smoke is circulated. Even opening a window is not sufficient to protect occupants from hazardous levels of smoke.  
Author: Published By: ASH Published : 08/03/2016

31: Smokefree Prisons
Although many jurisdictions worldwide have implemented smokefree laws in public places, prisons are often exempt. This factsheet examines the rationale for making prisons smokefree and the impact such polices have had to date.
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 01/10/2015

32: Smoking and Meningococcal Disease
Meningococcal disease is a life-threatening infection caused by the meningococcal bacteria. Exposure to tobacco smoke via both active and passive smoking has been shown to increase the risk of developing meningococcal disease.   
Author: Published : 29/07/2016

33: Use of electronic cigarettes among adults in Great Britain
Since 2010 there has been a significant rise in use of electronic cigarettes among adult smokers in Great Britain. This fact sheet summarises findings from annual surveys.  
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 16/05/2016

34: Use of electronic cigarettes among children in Great Britain
Regular use of electronic cigarettes among children and young people in Britain is rare and is confined almost entirely to those who currently smoke or have previously smoked.   
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 17/08/2015

35: Smoking and Dementia
People who smoke have a 50 per cent greater chance of developing dementia than those who have never smoked. Stopping smoking in middle age reduces the risk of onset of dementia.  
Author: ASH Published By: ASH Published : 14/09/2015