The percentage of adults smoking in Wales is at a record low, a new comprehensive survey of the nation’s health published today reveals.

First published:
1 June 2016
Last updated:

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The Welsh Health Survey 2015 shows 19% of adults reported they currently smoke, down from 26% in 2003/4. This significant reduction means the Welsh Government has already exceeded its aim of reducing smoking rates to 20% by 2016 and is well on track to achieve its ambitious target to reduce levels to 16% by 2020.

However, the results show many of us continue to eat and drink too much, and are not getting enough exercise.

A total of 13,700 adults and 2,600 children took part in the Welsh Health Survey 2015. Other key results show:

  • 40% of adults reported drinking above the recommended guidelines on at least one day in the past week, down from 45% in 2008, including 24% who reported binge drinking
  • Around 31% of adults reported being physically active on five or more days in the previous week
  • 17% of adults reported that they had talked to a GP about their own health in the past two weeks, while 70% of adults reported attending a dentist in the past 12 months
  • 94% of children reported having very good or good general health.

Minister for Social Services and Public Health, Rebecca Evans, said:

“It is encouraging to see that we are so close to achieving our ambitious target of reducing smoking prevalence levels to 16% by 2020, with four years still to go. This is testament to the efforts of a range of professionals  who have worked to discourage young people from starting to smoke, and have provided quality advice and support to smokers wanting help to quit, as well as to the people of Wales who have embraced a change in culture around smoking.

“While the results of the survey show signs of improvement – especially in regards to smoking – there are still areas where there is work to be done. We need to make more progress on obesity and activity levels, and I am confident our decision to integrate grassroots sport and health policy will help us do this.

“We will continue to support people to take small steps to improve their lifestyle and to reduce the risk of preventable illness.”