Experts hail ban impact as smoking hits all-time low in North Somerset

PUBLISHED: 06:00 24 July 2017

Legislation to ban smoking indoors in public places was introduced in 2007.

Legislation to ban smoking indoors in public places was introduced in 2007.

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Smoking has hit an all-time low in North Somerset, with only one in nine people smoking cigarettes 10 years on from the start of the public smoking ban.

Public Health England (PHE) data shows the district has fewer smokers than the national average with 11.7 per cent of adults regularly smoking compared to 15.5 per cent across England.

Smoking has fallen by 4.5 per cent in North Somerset in the past five years, and data suggests the district is suffering fewer smoking-related deaths 10 years on from the ban.

PHE reports 230 smoking-related deaths were recorded in North Somerset from 2013-2015 compared to 253 from 2007-2009.

Jill Iles, North Somerset Council’s public health assistant executive, said: “It is very encouraging that smoking prevalence in North Somerset has dropped by almost five per cent over the past four years.

“We now have the second lowest rate in the South West with only about one in nine local people still smoking.

“We continue to help those who want to give up with support in places like GP surgeries, pharmacies and community venues as well as targeting key groups like women in pregnancy and working with employers with higher rates of smoking.”

Russ Moody, tobacco control lead for PHE South West, believes the ban of smoking in indoor public places is ‘one of the greatest reforms to public health’ in Britain.

He said: “The move, coupled with quit smoking initiatives such as Stoptober and the work of local authority public health teams, has helped to drastically cut the number of smokers by facilitating quit attempts and smoke-free lifestyles.

“And not only has the health of smokers benefitted but so too has the health of non-smokers who no longer have to breathe second-hand smoke in pubs, restaurants and bars.

“In the South West, smoking rates are now the lowest on record. Tobacco sales are also in decline as record numbers of people quit smoking.

“Recent figures revealed more good news with a steep decline in smoking among younger adults with smoking at an all-time low in those aged 18-24.

“This is a huge step toward establishing the first tobacco-free generation.”

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