21 August 2007

UK cigarette sales drop by seven per cent

UK cigarette sales drop by seven per centCigarette sales have fallen by almost 7% in the UK since the smoking ban came into force. Smokers bought 6.9% fewer cigarettes in the four weeks to July 28 than in the same period last year. Anti-smoking campaigners last night welcomed the latest figures, which reflect similar steep falls in cigarette purchases when the ban was introduced in Ireland in 2004 and Scotland last year. Amanda Sandford, from anti-tobacco campaigners ASH, said: "As expected, smokers appear to be cutting back on the number of cigarettes they smoke. We also expect many will use the smoking ban as a trigger to help them quit altogether."

Greater health awareness has seen tobacco sales in Britain decline in the past few years, with cigarette consumption falling by two per cent annually. But the new figures indicate a much steeper fall since smoking was banned in all public places on July 1.

Around 10 million British adults smoke - about a quarter of the population - and between them they are expected to consume up to 50 billion cigarettes this year. Every year, around 114,000 smokers in the UK die from smoking related causes.

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