Smoking causes nearly 5,000 hospital admissions a day - and the number is still rising

  • Hospital admissions related to smoking totalled 1.7 million in 2014
  • Number of deaths fell from to 78,000 compared to 89,000 a decade earlier
  • Smoking played part in 21% of all male and 13% of all female deaths

The number of hospital admissions thought to be because of smoking has increased since 2004 

The number of hospital admissions thought to be because of smoking has increased since 2004 

Hospital admissions linked to smoking have increased by five per cent in the last decade - but the number of deaths has fallen, new figures have revealed.

There were an average of 4,700 hospital admissions a day related to smoking - a total of 1.7 million over 12 months, national statistics released today show.

This was despite a reduction in smoking, with one fifth of adults having the habit in 2014, down from its peak of nearly half the population in 1974. 

The number of deaths fell to 78,000 compared to 89,000 in 2004, according to figures released today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Smoking accounted for 21 per cent of all male deaths (47,000) and 13 per cent for women (31,000) in 2014
  • Cancer had the highest number of admissions attributable to smoking with 159,000 
  • Of these, 69 per cent (109,000) were male patients
  • Blackpool had the highest estimated hospital admission rate for smoking-related conditions, with 2,830 per 100,000 of population
  • The City of London had the lowest rate with 880 per 100,000
  • Married people were least likely to smoke at just 12 per cent compared to those co-habiting, which was 29 per cent
  • The average smoker has 11 cigarettes a day, the lowest since records started in 1974
  • In 2015, there were an estimated 2.2 million current e-cigarette users

Tobacco use is recognised as the single biggest cause of preventable disease and early death in the UK, claiming more than 102,000 lives a year.

Research has already established 21 diseases caused by smoking, including 12 types of cancer, six categories of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], and pneumonia including influenza. 

Smoking causes around 86 per cent of deaths from lung cancer, 80 per cent of deaths from bronchitis and emphysema, and 17 per cent of deaths from heart disease.

Married adults were the least likely to be smokers, according to figures released today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre

Married adults were the least likely to be smokers, according to figures released today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre

The percentage of people smoking has fallen from a peak of 46 per cent in 1974 to 19 per cent in 2014

The percentage of people smoking has fallen from a peak of 46 per cent in 1974 to 19 per cent in 2014

In 1948, when smoking surveys began, 82 per cent of men in the UK were smokers. 

Smoking prevalence fell rapidly between the 1970s and 1990s after which it has continued a slow decline. 

Today's figures refer to admissions with a primary diagnosis of a disease that can be caused by smoking, but for which smoking may or may not have actually been the cause. 

Since 2004-05, this figure has risen by 311,000 - or 22 per cent with other factors such as growing levels of obesity, also thought to be behind the increase. 

It's good news that the number of people dying from smoking continues to fall, however, smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable ill-health and death in the UK
Deborah Arnott, ASH

Average consumption among smokers was 11 cigarettes a day - the lowest is has ever been.

Meanwhile, more secondary school pupils reported trying e-cigarettes than tobacco with 22 per cent compared to 18 per cent.

In 2015, tobacco was 27 per cent less affordable than it was in 2005 but expenditure has fallen to 1.7 per cent of the total household outgoings in 2015, from 3.3 per cent in 1985.

Charities warned the effects of smoking can be seen for many years to come. 

Commenting on the figures, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH said: 'It's good news that the number of people dying from smoking continues to fall, however, smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable ill-health and death in the UK and the number admitted to hospital with smoking-related diseases is still going up. 

'If we are to reduce the burden of smoking-related disease on the over-stretched NHS it is essential that smokers are given the best possible support to quit. 

'Yet funding for stop smoking services, which can increase success in quitting up to four times, is being cut.'  

Scotland has the highest number of smokers with one in five adults, compared to England and Northern Ireland having the lowest at 18 per cent

Scotland has the highest number of smokers with one in five adults, compared to England and Northern Ireland having the lowest at 18 per cent

The UK sits in the middle of  countries in terms of smokers with Greece having the highest percentage of smokers and Sweden the fewest

The UK sits in the middle of  countries in terms of smokers with Greece having the highest percentage of smokers and Sweden the fewest


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