Wales Smoking Statistics

The latest figures for smoking and tobacco control in Wales.

Situation in Wales

  • Latest statistics show 18% of adults currently smoke, this is an estimated 454,000 adults


  • 45% of smokers have tried to quit in the last year


  • 7% adults use e-cigs,  76% use them to quit smoking


  • 26% of adults from the most deprived areas of Wales smoke compared to 11% among the least deprived adults


  • 29% non smokers reported being exposed to tobacco smoke indoors.  


Source: National Survey for Wales

Smoking prevalence by local authority

smoking statistics wales

68% of smokers reported that they would like to give up smoking 


  • 26% of adults from the most deprived areas of Wales smoke compared to 11% among the least deprived adults


  • The ethnic groups with the highest rates of smokers are Afro Caribbean men at 37%, followed by Bangladeshi men at 36%
  • Smoking rates among those with mental ill health stands at 36%, compared to 17% among the whole Welsh population


Source: National Survey for Wales 

Young People

  • 4% of adolescents reported that they smoke weekly or daily, indicating no change since 2013/14
  • 9% of 15-16 years olds (Year 11) say they smoke at least weekly
  • 38% tried a cigarette first at age 13 years or younger
  • 40% of adult smokers started smoking regularly before the age of 16
  • Children are over 70% more likely to start smoking if just one parent smoked


Source: Health Behaviour in School-aged Children 17/18

Passive smoking and children. 2010

Smoking is the biggest cause of health inequalities, especially among those with mental ill health, lower socio-economic status and pregnant women 


  • 18% of women were recorded as being a smoker at their initial assessment.
  • (16%) around one in six mothers, were recorded as being smokers at the time of birth in 2018.


Source: Maternity and Birth Statistics, Wales 2018

Illegal Tobacco

15% of all tobacco consumed in Wales is classed as illegal – higher than any UK region
  • 45% of smokers in Wales have been offered illegal tobacco
  • 52% of purchases took place at a private address
  • 59% of those who buy purchase it at least once a month
  • 45% of purchases took place in a pub or club
  • £4 average price paid for a pack of 20 illegal cigarettes
  • 70% of buyers strongly agree, it allows them to smoke when they can’t afford it
  • 45% see it as an important issue affecting the local community
illegal tobacco

Second-hand smoke


infections or disease among children


GP consultations


hospital admissions


cases of sudden infant death syndrome

  • Second-hand smoke exposure increases the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers by 20-30% and coronary heart disease by 25-35%
  • In 2016/17, 44% of the most deprived communities were exposed to second-hand smoke indoors and outdoors , which compared to 30% of those in the least deprived communities.
  • Smoking in the home has reduced from 80% to 46% and in other people’s homes from 36% to 20% since the 2007 smoking ban
  • There were 10% less asthma-related hospital admissions among children just one year after smoking bans were introduced, rising to 17% three years after


£ 0 million

Economic cost of smoking across Wales every year

Source: Cost of Smoking to Wales – 2013

£ 0 million

The cost of smoking to the Welsh NHS specifically per year



  • 28% of smokers in the UK – over 500,000 people – could be lifted out of poverty if they stopped smoking
  • 7 million households which include a smoker are in poverty
  • 65% of Welsh people, including 24% of smokers, support increasing tax on cigarettes and tobacco

Nicotine Products

Approximately 169,000 people vape in Wales

E-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes

Only 11% of adults have heard of heat not burn devices

A one-hour session smoking shisha is the equivalent of smoking 100 cigarettes