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Small decline in the prevalence of smoking

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The rate of smoking prevalence in the UK fell by 1.1 per cent in 2012/13, according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics .

The figures show that 18.7 per cent of people in the UK smoked in 2013, compared with 19.8 per cent in 2012. A regional divide was identified, with people in London, the South East and South West far less likely to smoke than those in the North East, North West and Yorkshire.

The South East has the lowest level of smoking prevalence, at 17.2 per cent, while the highest prevalence is 22.3 in the North East. Of the four UK countries, Scotland had the highest proportion of smokers (21.1 per cent), while England had the lowest at 18.4 per cent.

The findings also suggested that socioeconomic factors affect smoking rates. Professionals in managerial roles were significantly less likely to smoke than those in routine or manual jobs, with rates of 12.7 per cent and 28.9 per cent respectively.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation said: 'It is fantastic to see the rates of smoking in the UK continue to drop. But smoking still blights the lives of millions of people, doubling a person's chance of having a heart attack or stroke.'

The data is based on 268,102 people aged over 18 who responded in 2013 and 264,416 in 2012.

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