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United Kingdom – Health Issues

The United Kingdom is home to approximately 68 million people and is known for its National Health Service (NHS) which provides healthcare to all its residents, regardless of their ability to pay. However, like any other country, the UK is not immune to common health issues that affect its population. In this article, we will discuss some of the most prevalent health issues in the UK and explore smoking habits, attitudes, and legislation in the country.

Common Health Issues


Obesity is a significant health issue in the UK, with more than 60% of adults and a third of children being classified as overweight or obese. Obesity can lead to a range of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. The UK government has taken several steps to combat obesity, including implementing a sugar tax, promoting physical activity, and encouraging healthier eating habits.

Mental Health

Mental health is another prevalent health issue in the UK, with approximately one in four people experiencing a mental health problem each year. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health issues, but there is also a growing concern about the number of people experiencing more severe mental health problems, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The UK government has committed to improving mental health services and providing more funding for mental health research.


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Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the UK, with around 38% of people being diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Breast, lung, prostate, and bowel cancer are the most common types of cancer in the UK. The UK government has invested heavily in cancer research, and there has been a significant improvement in cancer survival rates over the past few decades.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a collective term used to describe diseases of the heart and blood vessels, including coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. CVD is a significant health issue in the UK and is responsible for over a quarter of all deaths. The UK government has implemented several measures to reduce the incidence of CVD, including encouraging people to lead healthier lifestyles and reducing salt intake.

Smoking Habits, Attitudes, and Legislation

Smoking Habits

Smoking rates in the UK have declined significantly over the past few decades, with only around 14.1% of adults smoking in 2019. Smoking rates are higher among younger people, with around 6.3% of 11 to 15-year-olds reporting that they smoke. Smoking rates are also higher among certain population groups, including people with mental health problems and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Attitudes towards Smoking

Attitudes towards smoking have changed significantly in the UK over the past few decades, with smoking now being seen as a socially unacceptable habit. There is a growing awareness of the health risks associated with smoking, and many people are choosing to quit smoking or not take it up in the first place.


The UK government has implemented several measures to reduce smoking rates in the country, including:

  • Increasing the price of tobacco products through taxation
  • Banning smoking in enclosed public spaces, such as bars and restaurants
  • Requiring graphic health warnings on tobacco products
  • Banning the sale of tobacco products to under-18s
  • Introducing plain packaging for tobacco products

These measures have been effective in reducing smoking rates in the UK, but there is still more work to be done to reduce smoking rates further, particularly among certain population groups.

The United Kingdom has a publicly funded healthcare system that provides free healthcare to all citizens. However, several health issues still affect the population, including obesity, mental health problems, cancer, and heart disease. Smoking is also a significant public health issue, and the UK has introduced several pieces of legislation to reduce smoking rates and protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

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