Breathe began its journey of inspiring a smokefree generation by encouraging health professionals, organisations, families, communities, young people and all those concerned with the health and happiness of our children, to pledge an action, big or small, on this site, and to be a part of our mission.

We recognise that to create a legacy and make a difference we need to understand that most smokers start as young people: two-thirds before the age of 18 and over 80% before the age of 20.

The reasons they start are complex, including: parental and sibling smoking, the ease of obtaining cigarettes, smoking by friends and peer group members, social class, exposure to tobacco marketing, and depictions of smoking in films, television and other media.

Children are more likely to take up smoking if they live with people who smoke. The best way to reduce smoking among young people is to reduce it in the world around them.

Around 60%

of smokers want to quit, 10% of whom intend to do so within 3 months

280 children

under the age of 16 start smoking every day in England

200 people

die each day from smoking in England

In order to reduce smoking prevalence we must:

  1. Reduce uptake:

    make smoking unappealing to both smokers and non-smokers.
  2. Increase quit attempts:

    encouraging smokers to quit for good.
  3. Increase success rate of quit attempts:

    provide a range of stop smoking support.

What do we know:

  • Smoking is financially draining, and making smoking obsolete could restore over £11bn back into household budgets lifting 2.6million adults and 1 million children out of poverty.
  • Disadvantages smokers are least likely to try to quit and less likely to succeed.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and premature death in England.
  • Smokers are 36% more likely to be admitted to hospital and need social care 10 years before they should.
  • People with mental health conditions die 10 to 20 years earlier, and the biggest factor in this is smoking.
  • Smokers loose on average 10 years of life, or around 1 year for every 4 years of smoking after the age of 30.
  • Around a third of households with a smoker fall below the poverty line.

Join 1614 others committed to End Smoking Together.