The proportion of the population that are regular smokers is now 16.1%
Health campaigners say the 10th anniversary of the smoking ban marks a “decade of success”, with smoking rates now the lowest ever recorded.
Laws banning smoking in pubs, clubs, bars and other enclosed public places in England came into effect on 1 July 2007, following Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
According to Cancer Research UK, there are now 1.9 million fewer smokers in Britain – with the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds lighting up falling from 26% to a record low of 17%.
The proportion of the population that are regular smokers has also dropped from 20.9% to 16.1%.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of anti-smoking group Ash, told Sky News the figures capped off a “decade of success”.
She said: “We had 10 million smokers 10 years ago and now it’s around two million fewer.
“That’s helped to stop it being a public health emergency.
“It’s the leading cause of preventable death. It kills more people than obesity, alcohol and illegal drugs put together.”
Cancer Research UK chief executive Sir Harpal Kumar welcomed “big changes in public attitudes towards smoking”, but called on the Government to do more to reduce smoking rates.
He said: “The job is far from done when we still have more than eight million smokers in Britain and tens of thousands of children taking up the deadly addiction every year.
“We need this Government to continue focusing on tobacco and we urge it to publish the Tobacco Control Plan for England as soon as possible.”
While health campaigners welcomed the ban, not everyone is happy about all aspects of the legislation.
Pro-smoking lobby group Forest claims that more than 11,000 pubs in England alone have gone out of business, partly due to the ban.
Meanwhile, Spiked magazine assistant editor Ella Whelan said the legislation represented too much state interference.
She told Sky News: “We’ve gone wildly too far in enacting bans and regulations on how people should conduct their private lives.
“The smoking ban, I think, is starting to become a real snowball effect into intervention into private life.”