Study reveals Surrey has seen the highest increase in current smokers across all UK counties

A new study has found that Surrey had the largest increase in the percentage of current smokers between 2021 and 2022.
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Online vape retailer Go Smoke Free analysed recently released public data from the Office for National Statistics to determine the counties that have seen the largest increase in current smokers between 2021 and 2022.

These results were then ranked from the largest percentage increase of current smokers to the largest percentage decrease.

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Surrey ranked first with a 52.6% increase in the percentage of current smokers between 2018 and 2022. Whilst the percentage of current smokers in 2021 was only 7.8%, this rose to 11.9% in 2022 over one year. The county also saw a 17% difference in 2022 compared to 2018, when it was recorded that only 10.2% of participants were current smokers.

A new study has found that Surrey had the largest increase in the percentage of current smokers between 2021 and 2022. Picture by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty ImagesA new study has found that Surrey had the largest increase in the percentage of current smokers between 2021 and 2022. Picture by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images
A new study has found that Surrey had the largest increase in the percentage of current smokers between 2021 and 2022. Picture by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

Lincolnshire came second with a 20.3% increase in the percentage of current smokers from 2021 to 2022. In 2022, 16% of the population identified themselves as smokers, compared with 13.3% in 2021. However, this is still a decrease from 2018, when 17.7% of the population identified themselves as current smokers.

Devon came third with a 19.8% increase in the percentage of current smokers between 2018 and 2022. The percentage of smokers in 2022 was 13.9%, compared to 11.6% in 2021. The county also recorded a slight rise in current smokers from 13.4% in 2018 to 13.9% in 2022, which was a 4% increase over a five-year period.

Oxfordshire ranked fourth with a 9.8% increase in the percentage of current smokers from 2021 to 2022. Whilst the county had 10.2% of participants registered as current smokers in 2021, this rose to 11.2% in 2022. This was also an increase from 2018 when 10.1% of the population identified themselves as current smokers.

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Essex came fifth with a 7.3% increase in the percentage of smokers between 2021 and 2022. 13.2% of people identified as current smokers in 2022, compared to 12.3% in 2021. These results are still lower than the percentage of current smokers in 2018 when 14% of the population identified themselves as current smokers.

Other counties in the top ten include Suffolk, Hertfordshire, West Sussex, Warwickshire, and Derbyshire.

A spokesperson for Go Smoke Free said: “It is interesting to see that there are still counties experiencing an increase in the percentage of current smokers across the country in recent years. This could suggest that people in places like Surrey or Lincolnshire are more stressed than other areas of the country or that the services available for helping individuals to stop smoking are less effective or accessible.”

“Another explanation could also be due to more participants providing their data to the Office for National Statistics in 2022 compared to 2021 within these areas. It will be interesting to see whether the 2023 figures demonstrate increases in current smoking across any other counties.”