Statistical News Release

Smoking rates fall to 18 per cent

Scotland's Chief Statistician today released The Scottish Health Survey 2017, providing information on the health, and factors relating to health, of adults and children in Scotland.


The proportion of adults smoking has fallen to 18 per cent, down from 21 per cent in 2016 and 28 per cent in 2003. The proportion of adults that have never smoked increased to 56 per cent (from 50 per cent in 2003).

The proportion of non-smoking adults exposed to second-hand smoke (based on detectable salivary cotinine) also declined significantly from 85 per cent in 2003 to 24 per cent in 2016/2017. The proportion of children exposed to second-hand smoke in the home (6 per cent ) remained at a similar level to 2015 and 2016 (6 per cent and 7 per cent respectively) following a drop from 11 per cent in 2014.

Seven per cent of adults were current e-cigarette users, the same proportion as in 2016.

Food insecurity

Eight per cent of adults in Scotland reporting having experienced food insecurity in terms of worrying that they would run out of food due to lack of money or resources during the previous 12 months. Around a fifth of single parents (21 per cent) and of single adults aged under 65 living alone (20 per cent) had experienced food insecurity in the past 12 months.


Around two-thirds (65 per cent) of adults in Scotland were overweight, including 29 per cent who were obese. These levels have been relatively stable since 2008. 

Prevalence of children at risk of obesity in 2017 was 13 per cent, with levels showing a steady decline since 2014 (levels were 16-17 per cent between 2003 and 2014),


Twenty four per cent of adults drank at hazardous or harmful levels in 2017, down from 34 per cent in 2003. The proportion of adults saying they did not drink alcohol increased to 17 per cent (from 11 per cent in 2003).

Other key findings from the report show:

  • Around two thirds of adults (65 per cent) met the guidelines for physical activity (150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week) a slight increase since 2012 (62 per cent).  Thirty three per cent of children aged 5-15 met the guideline of at least 60 minutes physical activity on each day of the previous week.
  • Twenty four per cent of adults met the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable recommendation, an increase from 21 per cent in 2003.
  • In 2017, 17 per cent of adults exhibited signs of a possible psychiatric disorder (GHQ-12 score of four or more). Those aged 16-24 were most likely to have a GHQ-12 score of four or more (22 per cent) with those aged 65 and over least likely (12-13 per cent).
  • In 2017 15 per cent of adults had any cardiovascular condition, 6 per cent had doctor diagnosed diabetes, 19 per cent had any CVD or diabetes, 5 per cent had ischaemic heart disease (IHD), 3 per cent had had a stroke and 7 per cent had had a stroke or IHD, with no significant change since 2016.
  • Twenty per cent of adults have attended some form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training within the last two years.
  • The proportion of adults with 20 or more natural teeth increased (by 5-7 percentage points) in each deprivation quintile between 2008 and 2017. However there is still a gap between the most deprived (65%) and least deprived areas (86%).
  • Adult gambling activity participation decreased from 70 per cent in 2012 to 63 per cent in 2017; largely driven by a decrease in National Lottery participation from 58 per cent in 2012 to 46 per cent in 2017.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


The Scottish Health Survey 2017

Official statistics are produced in accordance with professional standards. More information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland


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