In common with many things, smoking in public places depends largely upon your personal viewpoint, possibly also whether you are a smoker, or a non-smoker. From the viewpoint of non-smokers, since the ban on smoking in pubs was introduced ten years ago, pubs are now pleasant places to socialise. The younger generation, certainly those under thirty years of age, cannot understand what English pubs and clubs were like before the law about smoke-free public places came into force ten years ago. Then going for a night out in a pub meant a dense fog, the smell of tobacco smoke on your clothes and hair after a night out, and the ashtrays loaded with cigarette butts.
Since that time, smoking amongst adults in the UK has shown a year on year decline, particularly amongst the young, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2016, 15.8% of adults in the UK smoked, down from 17.2% in 2015, the figure for each country within the UK break down to 15.5% of adults currently smoke in England, rising to 18.1% in Northern Ireland, 17.7% in Scotland and 16.9% in Wales, with more people turning to e-cigarettes, with around 2.9 million, or 5.6% of adults.
However, the government plans to reduce smoking even further, the objective being to reduce the number of 15 year olds who regularly smoke from 8% to 3% or less, reduce smoking among adults in England from 15.5% to 12% or less, reduce the prevalence of smoking in pregnancy from 10.5% to 6% or less. Thanks to the country’s efforts to decrease smoking, an example of which is endorsing vaping products for smoking cessation, the UK is boasting the second lowest smoking rates in Europe after Sweden, and it hopes to achieve these objectives by the end of 2022.
More should be done to promote vaping as one way to achieve that target the government has set itself, Public Health England has said that e-cigarettes are less damaging to health than smoking tobacco. According to Public Health England (PHE) e-cigarettes are about 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, they even went as far as to suggest that they could even be dispensed as a licensed medicine in an alternative to anti-smoking products such as patches.