The decline in UK smoking prevalance over the years hasn't been uninterrupted. While we've reached the situation that we're now in - with smoking down to around a fifth of the population - there has been the odd year here and there when smoking has increased slightly.
So it's no wonder that the government is doing all it can to ensure that the number continue to drop year on year. The biggest change in recent years was of course the smoking ban - it seemed radical at the time and some even expressed doubts that it would be universally enforceable. But not only has the smoking ban been a success, it's also had the knock on effect of making smoking just that bit less social.
After the smoking ban - March 2006 for Scotland, July 2007 for England - discouraging smoking was largely down to the usual method of increasing the price at every budget. Until a couple of weeks ago, that is - when a radical new measure was introduced in England - the banning of cigarette displays in supermarkets. This will definitely have an effect as, again, it makes smoking less social and also makes it importantly less visible in a family setting such as your local branch of Tesco.
And now for the next big leap towards a future smoke-free UK: plain cigarette packaging with no branding on it. Although we're still a way off this becoming the new reality for cigarette manufacturers, the government has today launched a public consultation on the subject. Opponents believe that plain packaging would have a number of negative effects that could include making counterfait sales easier, increasing the back market generally, and causing confusion in shops.
One thing is for certain though, smoking isn't what it used to be - and if the smoking discouragements continue it will become an ever-more minority habit.