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When it comes to establishing an international pace for giving up smoking, the United Kingdom has been burning up the field.

Or, more fittingly, NOT burning it up.

Public Health England (PHE) announced more than one million individuals have quit smoking since 2014.

The PHE’s optimistic outlook extended to the future. In 2023, the health agency predicted only 10 percent of the population will smoke traditional cigarettes and by 2030, the nation will be completely smoke-free.

In September, Duncan Selbie, PHE’s chief executive officer, coaxed the National Health Service (NHS) to join the smoke-less crusade.

“Britain is a global leader on tobacco control and our robust policies mean smoking rates have fallen to record lows,” Minister of Public Health Steve Brine said. “We are not complacent — we know we must do all we can to keep encouraging smokers to quit for good.”

Selbie & Co have been at the point in helping lower the nation’s smoking rates, which remained at about 6.1 million. That figure included the nearly 400,000 people who quit last year.

Now, if only the PHE can figure out out a way to help those stubborn ol’ Brits. In an age when vaping has proven to be an effective tool for easing a smoker away from combustible cigarettes, 60 percent of smokers remain steadfast in the old-school approach to quitting, affectionately known as “cold turkey.” The PHE called the tactic ineffective and recommended e-cigarettes as a cessation aid.

To help more people trying to quit, the nation’s annual Stoptober campaign is on-going, calling for smokers to quit for 28 days.

For the UK to reach its ultimate goal of zero smokers in 12 years, additional resources for marketing and execution will need to be developed, Action on Smoking and Health CEO Deborah Arnott told CNN.

“Funding must be found,” she said. “If the government is to achieve the vision of a smoke-free society by 2030.”

But zero percent in just 12 years?

That would be burning up the field.

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