This website is no longer being updated. Please go to GOV.SCOT


This site is no longer being updated. You can now find the latest statistics on

Health of Scotland’s population - Smoking



Cigarette smoking is the world's leading cause of preventable poor health and premature death1. The latest figures show that, in Scotland, tobacco use is associated with over 10,000 deaths and around 128,000 hospital admissions every year2. Although smoking prevalence in Scotland has decreased gradually over time, reducing smoking further remains a priority for improving health in Scotland.

In 2013, the Scottish Government’s 5 year tobacco control strategy, Creating a Tobacco-Free Generation, set a target to reduce smoking prevalence in Scotland to 5% or less by 2034. The Strategy sets out a range of measures to support young people to choose not to smoke, to protect people from second hand smoke and continue to support those who do smoke to quit. The actions taken by the Scottish Government to tackle the harm caused by tobacco include legislation to prohibit smoking in public places which came into effect in March 2006, raising the age of sale for tobacco from 16 to 18 in 2007, implementation of a tobacco retail register in 2011, a ban on self-service sales from vending machines in 2013, and the introduction of a tobacco display ban in shops from 2013.

The chart below shows the trend in proportion of adults saying they smoke between 2003 and 2016.  Smoking prevalence has declined from 31% of adults in 2003 to 21% in 2016. 

Smoking prevalence in Scotland has fallen from 31% in 2003 to 21% in 2016















View chart data

Source: Scottish Health Survey

The Scottish Government has also established a National Indicator to reduce the percentage of adults who smoke.

1. Koplan J.P. and Mackay J. (2012). Curtailing tobacco use: first we need to know the numbers. The Lancet 380 (9842):629-30.


Further Information


Other Publications

Tobacco use among adolescents in Scotland: profile and trends (published 2nd February 2016)