A research, financed by Cancer Research UK and released in the Jama Network Open newspaper, discovered that median cigarette consumption dropped by almost a third between 2011 and 2018, with about 118 million fewer cigarettes consumed every month. The University College London (UCL) team examined cigarette sales data from over 135,000 individuals in the Smoking Toolkit Study as well as the monthly individual use of cigarettes. The research discovered a 24.4 percent decline in the amount of self-reported cigarettes consumed monthly, supported by marketing information indicating an average 24.1 percent decline over the seven-year era. The writers of the study also discovered that the quantity of smoking individuals in the same era decreased by 15 percent, meaning that those who continue to smoke do less.
Figures from the National Statistics Office indicate about 16% of individuals aged 16 and over cigarettes, consisting of 16.7% of males and 15.8% of women.
The study's lead author, Dr. Sarah Jackson from the research group on tobacco and alcohol at UCL, said: “It’s brilliant that over a billion fewer cigarettes are being sold and smoked in England every year. Studies like this help to give us an accurate picture of cigarette consumption so we know where we’re at and what more needs to be done.”
Stricter tobacco marketing and advertising laws, intended to encourage individuals to stop smoking, prompted the decrease in consumption.
Over the previous 20 years, there have been several policy modifications influencing tobacco sales, including 2003 ban on billboards and print advertisements, 2007 ban on indoor smoking and 2017 ban on branded packaging.
Cancer Research UK said there was more to be achieved as it called for financing for stop-smoking facilities and medicines from tobacco companies.
The charity’s senior policy manager George Butterworth said: “It’s great news that fewer cigarettes are being sold and smoked.
“Big tobacco said that introducing stricter regulation wouldn’t work and campaigned against it, but this is proof that smoking trends are heading in the right direction. But smoking is still the biggest preventable cause of cancer and certain groups have much higher rates of smoking, such as routine and manual workers, so we can’t stop here and think: ‘Job done.’ Last month, the government committed to making the UK smoke-free by 2030. But stop-smoking services, which give smokers the best chance of quitting, have been subject to repeated cuts in recent years. We need the government to fix the funding crisis in local stop-smoking services. The tobacco industry could be made to pay for these services to clean up the mess their products have created.”