Facts and figures

  • Smoking causes nearly 78,000 preventable, premature deaths each year in England
  • As smoking rates have declined, smoking has become more concentrated in the most deprived households – 1 in 3 people living in social housing smoke compared to 1 in 7 nationally
  • Tobacco addiction locks households into poverty – around 447,000 households in the UK live in poverty as a result of the financial impact of tobacco addiction
  • Smokers who live in social housing want to quit, and try to quit, as often as others who smoke, but are only half as likely to succeed
  • Smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in the home
  • Most people who smoke start in childhood – 280 children start smoking every day in England; children who live in a home where parents smoke are 90% more likely to start
  • One in five children are exposed to tobacco smoke in the home at least weekly


Supporting tenants to quit smoking delivers multiple benefits beyond just health, and can make an important contribution to tackling poverty.

A report published by Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) offers a number of recommendations to address higher smoking rates. This includes working with local social housing providers as part of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy. It also recommends that local stop smoking services collaborate with housing, regeneration, social landlords, and others to target support in communities where smoking is highly concentrated.

ASH has published a communications resource for local housing providers to publicise their commitment to tackling smoking in the home, including the Achieving a Smokefree Generation for Every Home pledge.

The ASH ‘smoking in the home’ webinar brings together key stakeholders from health, housing, academia, and the fire service to share key findings and recommendations from the ASH report ‘Smoking in the home: new solutions for a smokefree generation’. It includes best practice case studies from local authorities and the fire service, alongside a presentation from Lee Sugden, co-chair of the report and Chief Executive of Salix Homes.

Using Very Brief Advice to address smoking

Addressing smoking doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complex. It can be done in 30 seconds by delivering Very Brief Advice:

 Ask the person about their current smoking status

Advise the person on the harms from smoking and the help available to support them to quit

Act by referring the person to a local service

Very Brief Advice isn’t a box-ticking exercise, it’s an evidence-based intervention which works.

Training all professionals engaging with social housing residents to deliver this 30 second intervention and to refer residents to local support would allow help to be targeted where it’s needed most, reducing inequalities and alleviating poverty.

Check the health professionals page for more information on brief interventions and stop smoking training for professionals.