Cigarette smoking among adults


Last updated 8 August 2023 - see all updates

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.


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 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)

4. Data sources


Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics


Office for National Statistics

Note on corrections or updates

Higher-level figures may differ from those published by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Office for National Statistics that use the Labour Force Survey.

Publication frequency


Purpose of data source

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

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

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

The published statistics also allow the government to monitor estimates on a range of issues between censuses.

5. 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).