Press Article: Record year for North East smokers trying to quit – but still our biggest killer - 20 Aug 2010
Record year for North East smokers trying to quit – but still our biggest killer - 20 Aug 2010
NEW figures show last year was a record year for quitting smoking in the North East – but smoking is still our biggest killer and drain on the NHS.
The figures from the NHS Information Centre reveal that 25,485 people quit smoking successfully with the six NHS Stop Smoking Services in the North East during March 2009 to April 2010 – a rise of 14% more people than last year.
And as well as people successfully kicking the addiction once and for all, more people are giving quitting a go. Nearly 13% of all North East smokers made a quit attempt through the NHS last year – by far the highest rate of any other region.
However, the annual Statistics on Smoking in England report 2010 also shows smoking is still our biggest health problem to tackle:
• Nearly one in five deaths (18%) of adults aged 35 and over is attributable to smoking
• Smoking cost the NHS £5.2 billion in medical appointments and treatment in 2005-06
• In England in 2008-09 there were approximately 1.5 million admissions for adults aged 35 and over with a primary diagnosis of a disease that can be caused by smoking. This approximates to around 4,000 admissions per day on average.
The North East has seen the biggest drop in smoking in England, from 29% of adults regularly smoking in 2005 to just 21% smoking in 2008, but it still kills around 15 people a day, and for every death another 20 people suffer from smoking related conditions as a result.
Professor Stephen Singleton, Regional Director for Public Health, said: “Here in the North East smoking was part of daily life for too many years but we have tackled the problem head on and achieved the biggest drop in smoking in the country.
“It’s great to see our NHS Stop Smoking Services seeing more smokers than anywhere else, but these figures are also a stark reminder that the job is not done. Continuing to tackle tobacco is central to us achieving better health for our families, reducing the massive drain on the NHS and giving children the best start in life.
“No matter how disadvantaged you are in life, if you are a smoker you are further disadvantaged.
“The North East’s progress in tackling smoking has been as dramatic as it has been pleasing, but if we can make smoking history for more people, that will be a major part of the transformation of the North East.”
Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “The good news is that the North East has the best NHS Stop Smoking Services in the country. They’re by far the best chance for anyone who has tried but failed, or wants to really give themselves the best chance of quitting.
There’s been a massive change in the way smoking is now seen, and this has spurred on tens of thousands of people to quit, or try to do everything they can to stop their children from starting smoking in the first place.
“Only last week around 1,500 people queued up at the Tall Ships Race to sign a petition to make smoking history for the North East. Some of the most outspoken were smokers themselves, who wanted to stop their children or grandchildren falling into the same trap.”
Carole Dudley, manager of NHS County Durham and Darlington Stop Smoking Service, said: “Quitting smoking isn’t always easy but its something most smokers really want to do. Nine out of ten people who use NHS help to quit say they would recommend it.
“We offer friendly and non-judgemental help to smokers and tailor support to every person to give them the best possible chance of quitting, because everyone is different. We’re certainly not there to preach!
“One of the main causes of people lapsing when they quit is not having the right support in the first place. Their best possible chance of success is through using an NHS Stop Smoking Service.”
People can access help by phoning the County Durham and Darlington NHS Stop Smoking Service on 01388 742547, by phoning the NHS Helpline on 0800 022 4 332 or click on http://smokefree.nhs.uk/
The cost of smoking to the UK was recently estimated to be up to £16.2 billion a year in the Cough Up report by the Policy Exchange think tank. It states that every cigarette smoked is costing the UK money, including:
• Between £2.7bn and £5.2bn for treating smokers on the NHS
• £9.5bn for the loss of economic output to the economy from smoking breaks, absenteeism and the loss to the economy from the deaths of smokers.
• £342m for the cost of cleaning up cigarette butts
• £507m for the cost of smoking related house fires
• £713m for the cost of treating passive smokers.