London - If you are married you are less than half as likely to be a smoker than if you live with a partner, official figures show.
A third of those who cohabit smoke cigarettes, compared with fewer than one in seven husbands and wives.
The figures show that men are still more likely to smoke than women and that, surprisingly perhaps, smoking has not declined since 2007 – the year that it was banned in England in pubs, restaurants, offices, factories and taxis – despite intensive government efforts to discourage the habit.
The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey of 13 000 adults for the Office for National Statistics found 14 percent of husbands and wives are smokers, compared with 33 percent of cohabitees and 27 percent of single people.
Smoking rates were highest among the unemployed and workers in manual and routine jobs.
However the ONS said that the figures may be an underestimate because people do not like to admit how much they smoke.
The survey found that while 45 percent of adults in Britain were smokers in 1974, the level had fallen to 20 percent by 2012.
But the ONS said: “Most of this decline happened between 1974 and 1994. The proportion of adults smoking continued to fall between 1994 and 2007, but at a much slower rate.
“However, from 2007 to 2012 the rate of smoking has remained largely unchanged.”
The ONS gave no explanation of why married people are much less likely to smoke. But sociologist Patricia Morgan said: “If you are married you are likely to be in a job, you are likely to earn more, you are less likely to do risky things like heavy drinking and smoking.
“There is less commitment in cohabiting relationships and less willingness to listen to the other person’s opinions. You are unlikely to want the other person to have any control over you – people in cohabiting relationships may be trying to show partners they don’t have to do what they are told.”
The ONS found that 39 percent of the unemployed are smokers – double the average rate – and among jobless people in their late 20s and early 30s this rises to 54 percent.
Among workers, the highest rates of smoking were found in those with jobs such as bar staff and delivery drivers, at 33 percent. Only 14 percent of managerial and professional people smoke, and they tend to smoke fewer cigarettes than manual and routine workers.
Women are less likely to smoke than men – 19 percent against 22 percent. But seven percent of pregnant women said they smoked, despite the dangers to their unborn child.- Daily Mail