Tobacco, as will be elaborated in Chapter 6, is associated with vastly more health damage than any other psychoactive drug. The magnitude of tobaccorelated diseases and mortality firmly establishes smoking as a very risky form of behaviour. The Royal College of Physicians described postwar trends in tobacco use in the following terms:

Since 1950, the trend in adult cigarette consumption has been quite different in men and women. Amongst men, a slight upward trend was reversed after 1962, the year in which the first RCP Report was published. The downward trend continued till 1965 since when there has been an upward move, apart from brief falls after the 1971 Report and tax increases in 1974, 1975 and 1976. In women a steady upward trend has continued throughout the period, their average consumption rather more than doubling.