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Tobacco use: introduction

Smoking is the most important preventable cause of ill-health and premature death in Scotland.

In 2014 there were an estimated 9,948 smoking related deaths in Scotland. Over the period 2003-14, a clear downward trend in the number of deaths attributable to smoking has been evident: 2003 [11,841] and 2014 [9,948]. There have been decreases in the number of smoking-attributable deaths for both males and females, although these decreases have been markedly steeper in males. Similarly, the estimated number of deaths has fallen among all age groups (35-54, 55-64, 65-74 & 75+) since 2003, with the largest absolute decreases in the 65-74 and 75+ age groups. However, the largest percentage reduction based on the European age-sex standardised rate is seen in age group 55-64 (36%). For full results including ‘cause of death’ attributable to smoking by gender see Smoking-attributable deaths in Scotland: trend analysis and breakdown by disease type and age groups 2013-14 (1.2Mb).

It has been estimated that half of all regular cigarette smokers will die prematurely as a result of smoking (Doll et al, 1994). Tobacco use is also a major contributor to health inequalities, with some of the highest rates of smoking and smoking-related diseases found in the most disadvantaged communities (Taulbut et al, 2008). Although smoking prevalence has declined in Scotland over the past 40 years, it remains one of Scotland's most significant public health challenges (Scottish Government, 2013).

This section summarises key data and information on tobacco use in Scotland and provides links to related information available from other sources.

Page last updated: 12 September 2017

© Scottish Public Health Observatory 2014