My role


Smoking and alcohol 

Compiled by Men’s Health Forum, March 2013

Tobacco smoking

Men are slightly more likely to smoke cigarettes than women and to smoke more cigarettes each day.

In England in 2010, 20% of men and 19% of women reported smoking. This compares with 42% of men and 36% of women in 1980. Men smoked a higher number of cigarettes a day than women, with men smoking on average 13.3 cigarettes a day, compared with 12.1 for women (Reference: Information Centre).

Although filter cigarettes continue to be the most widely smoked (in 2010, 76% of women and 58% of men smoked mainly filter cigarettes), there has been an increase in the proportion of smokers who smoke mainly hand-rolled tobacco. In 1990, 18% of men and 2% of women said they mainly smoked hand-rolled cigarettes, but by 2010 this had risen to 40% and 23% respectively (Reference: Information Centre).

Men in manual groups are more likely to smoke: 26% did so in 2010 compared to 15% in non-manual groups. Married or cohabiting men are less likely to smoke – 18% did so in 2010 compared to 25% of single men and 33% of divorced or separated men. 15% of widowed men smoked (Reference: Information Centre).


Men are more likely than women to drink alcohol and to drink at levels that are hazardous for health. Men in managerial or professional groups are the heaviest drinkers.

In England in 2010, 17% of men and 10% of women (aged 16 and over) reported drinking an alcoholic drink on five or more days in the week prior to interview and 9% of men and 5% of women reported drinking every day during the previous week (Reference: Information Centre).

35% of men drank over 4 units on at least one day in the week prior to interview and 28% of women drank more than 3 units on at least one day in the week prior to interview. 19% of men reported drinking over 8 units and 12% of women reported drinking over 6 units on at least one day in the week prior to interview (Reference: Information Centre).

26% of men reported drinking more than 21 units in a typical week. For women, 17% reported drinking more than 14 units in a typical week. The average weekly alcohol consumption for all adults was 15.9 units for men and 7.6 units for women (Reference: Information Centre).

Households in England where the ‘household reference person’ was classified as managerial or professional had the highest proportions for both men and women who had an alcoholic drink in the last seven days (76% and 65% respectively), while men and women in routine and manual households had the lowest (61% and 45% respectively). There was a similar pattern in the proportions drinking on five or more days in the previous week (Reference: Information Centre).

Overall in 2010/11 more males than females were admitted to hospital with a primary diagnosis of a condition attributable to alcohol (120,000 and 78,800 admissions respectively) (Reference: Information Centre).

Males were much more likely to die from alcohol-related causes in the UK in 2011 (Reference: ONS). The death rate per 100,000 population for males was 17.2 compared to 8.3 for females. Death rates increased significantly for both sexes in the period 1991-2011 but more steeply for males.

Page created on August 5th, 2013

Page updated on August 12th, 2013