Public health minister Yvette Cooper has welcomed a compilation of statistics on smoking from 1978 onwards that show it has dropped among adults. The figures show that in 1998, 27 per cent of adults aged 16 and over smoked cigarettes, a drop from 40 per cent in 1978.But the prevalence of cigarette smoking is still higher for people in manual rather than non-manual occupations, and 24 per cent of women still smoke during pregnancy, down from a third 10 years ago.

Statistics on smoking: England 1978 onwards. The Department of Health, PO Box 777, London, SE1 6XH. Free.