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Smoking Rates Halve Since 1970s In Britain, Report Says

Update Date: Nov 30, 2014 05:24 PM EST

The number of smokers in Britain has more than halved in the past forty years, according to latest report. 

According to data from the Office for National Statistics for 2013, one in five British people (19 per cent) smoke. By comparison, just under half (46 per cent) of the population were smokers in 1974.

The report suggested that campaigns highlighting the effects smoking can have on health are having an impact. However, the government has been urged not to slow down its drive to help people kick the habit of smoking - one of the biggest causes of death and serious illness in the UK. 

"Smoking rates don't come down on their own. Successive government interventions such as tax rises, bans on advertising and smoke-free legislation have contributed to this downward trend. But smoking still causes around 100,000 deaths every year in the UK, increasingly in the most deprived sections of society," said George Butterworth, tobacco policy manager at Cancer Research UK, in the press release. 

"We urge the Government to maintain momentum by introducing standardised packaging with graphic health warnings and drab colors - to replace attractive, colorful branding of tobacco products."

"Half of all long-term smokers will die as a result of their tobacco addiction - and the tobacco industry's slick marketing is designed to keep up the number of people using their deadly products. Standardised packaging is an important step in making this lethal product less attractive to children."

The report can be read online on Office for National Statistics website. 

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