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Smoking data

Data blog: Smoking rates in Scotland and Europe visualised

By James Robinson

Coinciding with World No Tobacco Day, which is aimed at raising awareness of tobacco-related illnesses, the data blog looks at smoking rates in Scotland and Europe.

Recent comments from anti-smoking campaigner Anne Jones attacking the Scottish Government's commitment to reducing the number of smokers were reported in The Scotsman alongside news that the number of people trying to quit smoking had reached a record high in 2011.

But how do these views translate when we look at the data?

The graphic below shows the prevalence of smoking in Great Britain since 1998, using data from the General Household Survey. The survey calculated the prevalence of smokers as a percentage of the population (aged 16 and over), and shows that rates are slightly higher in Scotland than the rest of Britain, but all regions are in decline.

Next, a recent publication from the Scottish Public Health Observatory revealed that the number of people using the NHS to try and quit smoking was at its highest level.

The graph below looks at the trend in quit attempts alongside the estimated total number of smokers in Scotland, and shows that despite more quit attempts the number of smokers has remained fairly stable.

And finally, data from the World Health Organisation can give a good picture of smoking across Europe.

Use the drop-down tables to compare male, female and total smokers for various European countries, and select points on the legend to view countries of similar smoking rates.

The surveys used in the dataset were taken in different years from 2000-2010 and by different organisations, but they give a good indication of the differences between countries.

Tags: Data blog

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