Cancer charity welcomes 3% drop in number of adults smoking, following latest NI Health Survey

The latest NI Health Survey shows that the number of adults smoking continues to decrease. In 2021/2022, 17% of adults smoked in Northern Ireland; it now is 14%. However the use of e-cigarettes, or vaping devices, has grown by 2%. In 2021/2022, 7% of adults reported using an e-cigarette; in 2022/2023, it is closer to 9%.

“Fortunately, combustible cigarette use has decreased. In 2021/2022, 17% of adults smoked in Northern Ireland; it now is 14%. We welcome this development, as combustible cigarettes are projected to kill two-thirds of their users. We encourage tobacco users to quit smoking, but it is better to not start smoking (cigarettes or e-cigarettes) at all.” says Naomi Thompson, Health Improvement Manager at Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

Naomi continued “While vaping remains as a useful tool to stop smoking, we are concerned about the number of non-smokers who are now starting to use these devices,”

“We are especially concerned about the growth in youth vaping. The 2022 Young Persons Survey, released in September, showed a doubling in vape use rates among 11-16 year olds. Our conversations with school professionals also testify to this surge in popularity.  This Health Survey indicates higher e-cig use in younger people, with 17% of those aged 16-34 reporting e-cig use.  We are really concerned about nicotine addiction and possible long-term health consequences.”

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland has offered stop smoking services for over 50 years and recently launched a vision for a Smokefree Northern Ireland earlier this year. The charity is also responding to the UK consultation for a Smokefree Generation.

To learn more about how Cancer Focus NI supports cancer patients, their families, and smokers looking to quit, visit https://cancerfocusni.org/.