Across the pond, more people are kicking their smoking habit than ever before.
A recent government report found that in 2015 16.9 percent of adults in England were smokers ― down from 19.3 percent in 2012. This means that one in six people in the country are smokers.
This is the first time the smoking rate in England has fallen below 17 percent, according to a press release by Public Health England, an executive agency of the United Kingdom’s Department of Health.
The agency released the report in conjunction with Stoptober, an annual campaign to encourage the public to quit smoking for 28 days in October. The campaign’s site suggests that stopping for that specific amount of time makes a smoker five times more likely to quit for good.
Last year 2.5 million smokers in England attempted to kick the habit, according to Public Health England’s release. Of those, 500,000 people, or 20 percent, actually quit, which is the highest recorded success rate according to the release. Nicotine patches, gum and e-cigarettes were sited as tools that helped smokers quit.
In fact, over a million people in England used e-cigarettes in order to stop smoking tobacco ― even though opinions are split about whether e-cigs are a safe option.
A study conducted by the Royal College of Physicians, a major British medical organization, suggests that e-cigarettes’ benefits far outweigh the potential harms.
In the United States, however, the Centers for Disease Control has actively advocated against e-cigarettes. In 2013, Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC warned that, “many kids are starting out with e-cigarettes and then going on to smoke conventional cigarettes” in an interview with Medscape, an international website for physicians and healthcare professionals.
The Food and Drug Administration cracked down on e-cigarettes in May and is now regulating them as a tobacco product, which means they will have to go through an approval process to go to market.