Press Article: North East smoking at a record low 29/01/10
North East smoking at a record low 29/01/10
The latest results show that the number of people smoking in the North East has fallen for a third consecutive year starting from 29% in 2005 to 21% in 2008 - a total of around 170,000 fewer smokers over this three year period- the biggest percentage decline of any region in England. Fewer adult males smoke in the North East compared to any other region in England (17% compared to the national average of 21%) but the decline in female smoking has been slower (23% compared to the national average on 20%).
The statistics are in the General Lifestyle Survey, issued today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The survey collects information from households on a range of topics and reports on smoking trends annually.
Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh - Smoke Free North East, which won the Chief Medical Officer`s Gold Medal for Public Health in 2009, said: "We have rid the North East of its tag of being the worst area in England for smoking and have the highest number of people nationally seeking NHS support to quit. This is good news for all the agencies working together to help turn around the health of the region and build on the good progress of recent years.
“However, more still needs to be done to make quitting easier, reduce the number of children and young people who start smoking every year and protect our communities from the harm tobacco and its industry causes and to protect our children from these lethal products. Smoking remains the biggest killer in the region.
“The year England went smokefree in 2007 was an incredible year prompting record numbers of quitters, showing the impact Government policy can have. That is why we welcome new measures such as putting cigarettes out of sight in shops and removing cigarette vending machines.”
“Seven out of 10 smokers want to quit and there is massive public support for keeping up momentum from the Government in tackling tobacco, by far our biggest killer.”
• Smoking is estimated to cost the NHS £2.7bn a year nationally
• Smoking is estimated to cost North East businesses more than £70m a year
• 82%% of people in the North East are concerned about young people starting to smoke
A large number of initiatives are under way in the North East to tackle smoking, including the Fresh programme and the North of England Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health Programme, which aims to reduce the supply and demand of illegal tobacco, which is an easy source for children and young people.