Cigarette smoking among adults

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • 13.9% of adults in England smoked in 2019

  • the percentage of adults who smoked was higher than average in the Mixed (19.5%) and White (14.4%) ethnic groups

  • it was lower than average in the Chinese (6.7%), Asian (8.3%) and Black (9.7%) ethnic groups

  • from 2012 to 2019, the percentage of White adults who smoked went down from 20.1% to 14.4%

  • the percentage of Black adults who smoked went down from 13.0% to 9.7% and the percentage of Asian adults who smoked went down from 10.8% to 8.3%

  • the percentage of adults who smoked went down in other ethnic groups, but not enough people were surveyed to make reliable generalisations

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data measures the percentage of adults (aged 18 and above) in England who said they were cigarette smokers at the time they were surveyed, by ethnicity.

Percentages have been rounded to 1 decimal point.

The ethnic groups used in the data

Data is shown for the following aggregated ethnic groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Chinese
  • Mixed
  • White
  • Other

This is because the number of people surveyed was too small to make any reliable generalisations about any of the 18 ethnic groups.

There is a separate category for people whose ethnicity was not known – this was less than 0.1% of people in 2019.

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for the data on this page.

It is unlikely that everyone who was a smoker when they were surveyed responded accurately. This may be due to the social stigma some people attach to smoking. As a result, the findings are likely to underestimate the true percentage of people who were smokers.

The figures on this page are based on survey data. Find out more about:

In the data file

See Download the data for:

  • unrounded figures
  • figures for all ethnic groups combined, including people whose ethnicity was not known
  • confidence intervals for each ethnic group

3. By ethnicity

Percentage of adults who smoked cigarettes, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Survey respondents
All 13.9 146,897
Asian 8.3 9,514
Black 9.7 4,013
Chinese 6.7 636
Mixed 19.5 1,318
White 14.4 129,195
Other 15.6 2,155

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Cigarette smoking among adults By ethnicity Summary

The data shows that:

  • 13.9% of adults in England smoked in 2019

  • the percentage of adults who smoked was higher than average in the Mixed (19.5%) and White (14.4%) ethnic groups

  • it was lower than average in the Chinese (6.7%), Asian (8.3%) and Black (9.7%) ethnic groups

  • not enough people from the Other ethnic group were surveyed to make reliable generalisations

4. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of adults who smoked cigarettes, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
% % % % % % % %
All 19.3 18.4 17.8 16.9 15.5 14.9 14.4 13.9
Asian 10.8 10.8 10.8 10.0 9.4 9.3 9.1 8.3
Black 13.0 12.0 13.5 11.3 10.3 10.4 11.0 9.7
Chinese 11.5 10.0 10.9 12.2 7.4 8.6 7.7 6.7
Mixed 24.9 25.5 24.4 22.4 20.8 20.5 20.4 19.5
White 20.1 19.2 18.5 17.6 16.2 15.4 15.0 14.4
Other 18.3 16.3 16.8 16.7 14.6 16.5 15.5 15.6

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Cigarette smoking among adults By ethnicity over time Summary

The data shows that, between 2012 and 2019:

  • the percentage of adults in England who smoked went down from 19.3% to 13.9%

  • the percentage of White adults who smoked went down from 20.1% to 14.4%, the percentage of Black adults who smoked went down from 13.0% to 9.7%, and the percentage of Asian adults who smoked went down from 10.8% to 8.3%

  • the percentage of adults who smoked also went down in other ethnic groups, but not enough people were surveyed to make reliable generalisations

5. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The Annual Population Survey (APS) is the largest household survey in the UK and covers topics, including:

  • personal characteristics
  • labour market status
  • work characteristics
  • education
  • health

The purpose of the APS is to provide information on social and socio-economic variables at local levels, such as labour market estimates.

The published statistics also allow the government to monitor estimates between Censuses.

6. Download the data

Cigarette smoking among adults - Spreadsheet (csv) 12 KB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, time, geography, gender, age, value, sample size, confidence intervals (lower bound, upper bound).