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The efficacy of smoke-free sites with little more than signage to instil concordance

26 November 2020
4 min read
Volume 29 · Issue 21

Approximately 6.9 million adults smoke in the UK, which equates to about 14.1% of the population, a figure that decreased from 14.7% in 2018 to 14.1% in 2019 (Office for National Statistics, 2020). The highest proportion of adult smokers was recorded in Northern Ireland with 15.6% and the lowest was in England at 13.9%; the figure was 15.5% in Wales and 15.4% in Scotland. The figures in each nation varied depending on a range of factors, including socioeconomic background.

The NHS has made a commitment to create a smoke-free society in the UK (NHS England and NHS Improvement, 2019; NHS Health Scotland, 2015; NHS Wales and Public Health Wales, 2019). To make this happen, England (NHS England and NHS Improvement, 2019) and Scotland (Scottish Government, 2013; NHS Health Scotland, 2015) have developed long-term strategies, while Wales has both medium- and long-term strategies (Welsh Government and NHS Wales, 2017; NHS Wales and Public Health Wales, 2018a; 2018b). Northern Ireland has chosen a similar approach to Wales (NHS Wales and Public Health Wales, 2018a; 2018b), focusing not only on NHS sites but also more widely on government and other public spaces and premises (Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, 2012; Public Health Agency, 2015; Department of Health (Northern Ireland) 2020).

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