More people in the UK are quitting smoking than ever before, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

Of all adults in Great Britain who had previously smoked 56.7 percent had quit in 2015, which is the highest proportion of quitters since 1974.

In 2015, of all adults in the UK 17.2 percent were smokers, down from 20.1 percent of adults who smoked in 2010. Cancer Research UK estimates that this means there were 8,800,000 adult smokers in the country in that year.

Also, average cigarette consumption among smokers has reduced to 11.3 cigarettes each day - the lowest level since 1974.

The data also show that 2.3 million people in the UK used e-cigarettes in the year, with half having turned to ‘vaping’ to help them stop smoking cigarettes.

George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK’s tobacco policy manager, welcomed the “fantastic progress” but also stressed that “cuts to public health budgets puts at risk the support smokers need to help break their addiction and successfully quit.”

Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death in the UK, accounting for nearly 80,000 deaths In 2014. On the economic side, research from Oxford University suggests that smoking cost the NHS in the UK £5.2 billion in 2005 to 2006, highlighting the huge drain on already stretched resources.

“It’s essential the Government finds sustainable funding for Stop Smoking Services and mass media quit campaigns, and publishes the Tobacco Control Strategy for England without further delay,” Butterworth said.