The number of smokers in Britain has reached its smallest point since records began in 1974, based on new data, while greater than a million people say these are using e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking.

The latest data from your Office for National Statistics demonstrates that 17.2% of adults in the UK smoked in 2015, down from 20.1% in 2010.

Smoking levels are highest in Scotland, at 19.1%, accompanied by Northern Ireland, where it is 19%, Wales on 18.1% and England on 16.9%. The numbers have already been dropping fastest recently in Scotland and Wales. Among local authorities, Blackpool is the only one to feature consistently within the 10 heaviest smoking areas between 2012 and 2015. In 2015, 25.3% of adults in Blackpool smoked.

The info also demonstrates that 2.3 million people were top vapor cigarettes users in England, Scotland and Wales in 2015, about 4% in the population. Their survey also shows that 4 million many people describe themselves as former e-cigarette users. An additional 2.6 million say they have tried them however, not gone onto use them regularly.

Half of the two.3 million who were current users of e-cigarettes at the time of the survey said they were carrying it out to give up smoking. Another 22% said these people were vaping because it was less harmful than smoking. Only 10% said they decided to vape because it was less expensive than buying cigarettes. Others – 9% – said they used e-cigarettes primarily because they were permitted indoors.

The figures will bolster the arguments of people who believe e-cigarettes possess a major role to try out in ending the tobacco epidemic. The problem has been hugely controversial among public health doctors and campaigners, a few of whom consider e-cigarettes to become a stalking horse for that tobacco industry which hopes to help make smoking acceptable again and has invested in vaping.

The World Health Organisation has expressed concern over e-cigarettes, but Public Health England has said vaping might be 95% safer than smoking tobacco.

One half of current smokers say they may have tried e-cigarettes, and 14.4% of current smokers also vape.

A few of the statistics suggest that it must be often the heavier smokers who choose e-cigarettes. Those that also vape smoke marginally more cigarettes daily typically compared to those who do not – 11.8 versus 11.3. Smokers who have cast aside on e-cigarettes smoke 12.2 each day versus 10.6 among those who have never used an e-cigarette. Smokers who may have children in your own home are also more inclined to use e-cigarettes.

The ONS vaping details are from the opinions and lifestyle survey 2014-15 and relate in order to Great Britain. The ONS figures on general smoking trends include northern Ireland.

Men are more likely to smoke – 19.3% do, compared with 15.3% of females. Smoking is most typical within the 25-34 age range, where 23% smoked in 2015. It is least common within the over-65s, among whom 8.8% smoke. However the biggest decline bhojtr 2010 has become one of the 18-24 year-olds, where it offers dropped five percentage points to 20.7% in 5 years.

Figures for Great Britain also demonstrate that smokers have been cutting back on the quantities of cigarettes they consume. Average consumption is down to 11.3 cigarettes daily, the best number since 1974.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH said: “The decline in smoking is quite encouraging and implies that strong tobacco control measures are working. However, the federal government can’t leave it to individual smokers to attempt to quit by themselves. When the downward trend is to continue we urgently need to have a new tobacco control arrange for England, and proper funding for public health and for mass media campaigns. That’s essential if the prime minister is always to fulfill her promise to tackle health insurance and social inequality.”