London: Cigarette smoking may be completely disappeared by 2050, experts believe.
A combination of rising prices and the ban on lighting up in public places could finally kill off the habit, reports a daily.
According to a 72-page report by Citigroup analysts, it is quite possible that there will be no smokers left in Britain or many other developed countries in about 30-50 years.
Many smokers are being put off by the spiralling cost of cigarettes.
After the VAT rise more than three-quarters of that price is now made up of tax.
The report, titled Tobacco: What if the last smoker quits in 2050, said: "It`s hard to ignore 50 years of data. Smoking rates appear to be falling in a series of straight lines."
"No one can be certain how smoking rates will play out in the distant future. Possibly it may be (eventually) banned," said the report.
Last night health experts welcomed the prediction but warned that a more gradual cut in smoking was likely.
Some 10 million Britons smoke, 22 percent of men and 21 percent of women, a fall of only one percent since the smoking ban came into force.
Amanda Sandford, of Action on Smoking and Health, said a reduction of smokers to 10 percent of the population was "achievable" in the next decade.
"There are many factors in getting people to quit smoking including the ban in pubs and restaurants which has resulted in high levels of compliance," she said.
"The ban led to a spike in people trying to quit and numbers are about one percent down than in 2007. I think there will be a more gradual reduction in people smoking," she added.