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Tobacco use: key data sources

Scottish Household Survey

The survey includes two questions on smoking. These are:

  • Do you smoke cigarettes nowadays?
  • About how many cigarettes a day do you usually smoke?

Smoking prevalence estimates are usually presented by gender, age group, deprivation group (SIMD), urban/rural classification, local authority and self-reported health status.

Scottish Health Survey

Results from the 2013 Scottish Health Survey were published in December 2014.

Results from the 2014 Scottish Health Survey were published in September 2015.

Results from the 2015 Scottish Health Survey were published in September 2016.

Questions in the surveys focussed on:

  • current smoking status
  • frequency and pattern of current smoking
  • the number of cigarettes smoked by current smokers
  • ex-smokers' previous smoking history
  • exposure to second-hand smoke
  • past smoking behaviour
  • desire to give up smoking
  • medical advice on giving up smoking.

Results are usually presented by gender, age group, socio-economic classification, equivalised household income and Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) quintile.

For the first time, the 2014 survey includes a new question about the use of electronic cigarettes.

Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS)

The smoking section of the survey asks respondents questions on, amongst other things, whether or not they smoke, how much they smoke, how long they've smoked, whether they would like to give up, their family's attitude to smoking, where they get their cigarettes from and who they're with when they smoke.

Results from the 2013 SALSUS were published in November 2014.

Health Behaviour in School-aged Children

The 2009/10 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey used four questions to obtain a broad picture of smoking behaviour. These were:

  • Have you ever smoked tobacco (at least one cigarette, cigar or pipe)? (Yes/No)
  • How often do you smoke tobacco at present? (I don't smoke/Every day/At least once a week, but not every day/Less than once a week)
  • How many cigarettes do you usually smoke in a week (zero or write in number)
  • At what age did you first smoke a cigarette (more than a puff)? (Never/I was ___ years old)

The 2009/10 report compares responses of boys and girls across countries in terms of the percentage reporting ever having smoked, the percentage smoking at least once a week, the percentage smoking every day and the average age at onset of smoking.

ScotPHO ready reckoner

The ScotPHO ready reckoner uses simple calculations to estimate the potential effect of reduced smoking prevalence on three outcomes: smoking-attributable deaths; smoking attributable hospital admissions; and smoking-attributable NHS costs.

SMR02 - Maternity Record

SMR02 information on smoking behaviour in pregnancy is collected at a woman's first antenatal booking appointment, which usually takes place within the first three months of pregnancy either at hospital or in the community.

Smoking cessation statistics

ISD is responsible for the maintenance and development of the web-based National Smoking Cessation Database and for the national monitoring of NHS smoking cessation services in Scotland, using the data collected via the national database.

Integrated Household Survey (previously the General Lifestyle Survey)

Questions about smoking behaviour were asked of General Lifestyle Survey (formerly known as the General Household Survey) respondents from 1971 to 2011. The smoking questions are now contained in the Integrated Household Survey.

WHO European tobacco control database

The World Health Organisation (WHO) launched its European tobacco control database in 2001. The aim of the database is to provide a standardised and reliable tobacco control surveillance system for Europe. The database covers 41 indicators relating to tobacco use and control policies in 48 WHO European Member States. It covers five main areas: smoking prevalence, legislation, economics, cessation and general policy.

ScotPHO Reports

Report released in June 2016 reporting on Smoking-attributable deaths in Scotland with trend analysis and breakdown by disease type and age groups 2013-14 (1.2Mb).


Page last updated: 14 September 2017

© Scottish Public Health Observatory 2014