Attitudes towards smoking are changing in Wales with support gathering for stronger tobacco control.
The results of ASH Wales’ latest opinion poll in conjunction with YouGov, reveal significant changes in the way people in Wales view smoking cigarettes and a desire for more to be done by the Government to reduce smoking prevalence.
Significantly too, the results reflect the effectiveness of measures to de-normalise smoking, with only 55% of respondents saying they view smoking cigarettes as common, compared to 63% in 2017 and 67% in 2016 – a 12% drop in two years.
When asked about tobacco control measures, 39% of Welsh adults said they felt the government was not doing enough, with only 8% saying they were doing too much.
Strikingly it was those in the 18 to 24-year-old age group who were most keen to see more done to limit smoking, with 50% of them saying the Government is not doing enough. Among adults in that age group, only 5% said they thought the Government was doing too much. Meanwhile there was strong support shown for additional tobacco control policies with 62% of Welsh adults supporting a ban on smoking in all cars and 87% of respondents in favour of increased penalties for selling tobacco to children – including 84% of smokers. Interestingly too, over half of Welsh adults, 53%, believe that it is unacceptable to expose under 18-year-olds to smoking on TV.
Second hand smoke
The survey also looked at the extent to which adults in Wales are exposed to second hand smoke and found that 14% of Welsh adults live in a home where someone smokes most days. They are most likely to be exposed to second hand smoke while socialising, 71% and while waiting for public transport, 65%. Those most likely to be exposed to second hand smoke in their own home from someone else were people living in social housing.
Survey participants were asked about vaping in a bid to build a picture of growing cohort of e-cigarette users in Wales. The survey found that the number of e-cigarette users who are now ex-smokers has increased from 49% in 2017 to 57% in 2018. Encouragingly the majority of users, 56%, use e-cigarettes to help them to quit cigarettes, keep off tobacco or cut down the amount they smoke. Health was given as the number one reason for using e-cigarettes by the majority of users.
If you want to stop smoking Help Me Quit is run by NHS Wales and will help you to find the stop smoking service that best suits you. Contact them on 0800 085 2219 or visit www.helpmequit.wales.