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This page relates to the 2007 version of the National Performance Framework. Information about the current version of the NPF is available on the Scotland Performs Home Page.

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Current Status

The levels of smoking in adults in Scotland has gradually reduced over time. By the end of the target period the percentage of adult smokers in Scotland had fallen from the baseline figure of 25.4% in 2006 to 24.2% in 2010. This is higher than the target of 22%.

More on smoking rates

National Indicator


Reduce the percentage of the adult population who smoke to 22% by 2010

Reduce the percentage of the adult population who smoke to 22% by 2010

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Why is this National Indicator important?

Smoking has an enormous influence on the health of people in Scotland. Despite recent reductions in smoking levels, and early evidence of the positive impact this has in people's health, there are still relatively high levels of smoking in Scotland, particularly amongst certain groups of individuals. It is particularly important to reduce levels of smoking amongst the young, the deprived and pregnant women.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Smoking-uptake is influenced by a variety of social and cultural factors. So if we are to reduce smoking levels, we need a comprehensive, broad-based, multi-agency programme of action, as set out in the Scottish Government's tobacco action plan 'A Breath of Fresh Air for Scotland' (2004).

This involves a number of key issues. Firstly, making cigarettes and other tobacco products less available through, for example, effective enforcement of tobacco sales law. Secondly, making it less attractive, particularly to children and young people. This can be achieved through bans on tobacco advertising and smoking in public places, and measures to educate and promote healthy lifestyles. We can also make cigarettes less affordable through, for example, effective fiscal policy. We must also, of course, have the support mechanisms in place to help smokers to quit.

What is the Government's role?

The strategic framework for tobacco control is set in 'A Breath of Fresh Air for Scotland' (2004) and reinforced in 'Better Health, Better Care' (2007). The aim will be to build on progress made in shifting cultural attitudes to smoking, particularly through: the smoke-free laws; by continued investment in tobacco control activity, including £11m a year on smoking cessation services; and measures to stop young people smoking in the first place. The Scottish Government published a new smoking prevention action plan: Scotland's Future is Smoke-free in May 2008 setting out an ambitious programme of measures designed specifically to persuade and encourage children and young people not to smoke.

The proposals include:

  • Legislating to restrict the display of cigarettes and other tobacco products at points of sale (Bill approved by Parliament in January 2010 and given Royal Assent on 3 March 2010)
  • Updating statutory controls on the sale of tobacco products, to introducing a registration scheme for retailers and sanctions such as cautions and fixed penalty notices

How are we performing?

Smoking among adults has gradually declined from a level of 30.7% in 1999 to 24.2% in 2010. From 2007 to 2009 there was a fairly steady decrease from 25.7% to 24.3%, which levelled off in 2010 (24.2%).

While there has been a decrease of 6.5 percentage points since 1999 the target of reducing smoking rates among adults to 22% by 2010 has not been met.

Percentage of adults who smoke

View data on smoking

Source: Scottish Household Survey


This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 0.5 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A decrease of 0.5 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas an increase of 0.5 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Further Information

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Statistics Topic Page

Who are our partners?

NHS Scotland

Local Authorities

Related Strategic Objectives


Wealthier and Fairer

View National Indicator data

Downloadable document:

Data for National Indicator on SmokingData for National Indicator on Smoking [XLS, 30.0 kb: 17 Aug 2011]
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Performance Improving


Performance Maintaining


Performance Worsening

no info

Performance data currently being collected