The United Kingdom was one of the four original countries of the ITC project, which has been active in its evaluation of the country’s text-only enhancement of warning labels, possibilities for future graphic warnings, its 2003 tobacco advertising ban in 2003, and more. In addition, the United Kingdom has a higher rate of smokers who buy their cigarettes from independent sellers than is observed in other ITC countries, a compensatory behaviour which is of interest to researchers. The ITC project is also monitoring the reactions and support for the new smoke-free laws in Scotland and England. The United Kingdom signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on June 16, 2003, and ratified the treaty on December 16, 2004.

Country Profile:

Capital City London, England
Population (2006 estimate) 60,609,153
Life expectancy at birth (2002 estimate) Men: 76 years, Women: 81 years
Healthy life expectancy (2002 estimate) Men: 69.1 years, Women: 72.1 years
Ethnic groups English 83.6%, Scottish 86.%, Welsh 4.9%, Northern Irish 2.9%, Black 2%, Indian 1.8%, Pakistani 1.3%, Mixed 1.2%, Other 1.6%
GDP per capita (2004) $31,308
Median age 39.3 years
Literacy 99%

Smoking Prevalence:

  • The United Kingdom had an overall smoking prevalence of 24% in 2005, down from 26% in 2002, and 45% in 1974.
  • Surprisingly, though on the decline, 20% of 15-year olds were reported to be regular smokers (at least once a week on average) in 2005.

Smoking Policies:

  • In 2002, the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act banned all advertising of tobacco products, which extends to a ban on event sponsorship by tobacco companies.
  • Scotland has a comprehensive smoke-free ban.
  • The minimum age for tobacco purchase is 16, with talk of raising it to 18 in Scotland.
  • Light/mild descriptors were banned in May 2003.

ITC Researchers:

Gerard Hastings (Principal Investigator)
Susan Anderson
Louise Hassan
Fiona Harris
Anne-Marie MacKintosh
Ann McNeill
Lion Shahab

United Kingdom policy table

United Kingdom Contact Information

Janine Ouimet, Project Manager. Email:

Ann McNeill, Principal Investigator. Email:

Gerard Hastings, Principal Investigator. Email:

ITC Affiliated Institutions:

Sources: World Health Organization, CIA World Factbook, Action on Smoking and Health UK

Click here for the ITC United Kingdom survey questionnaires »

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