The latest Public Health England (PHE) data suggests that the number of people smoking in the country has fallen to the lowest level on record. According to the data last year the number of people who smoked fell to 16.9 per cent in England down from 17.8 per cent in 2014. Alison Cox who heads up Cancer Research UK’s prevention department said that smoking continues to be the main preventable cause of cancer. This means that data suggesting that smoking rates are at a record low is pleasing.
“ Today’s data shows large regional variations that reflect health inequalities between the richest and poorest in England. The NHS has said that its future sustainability relies on an upgrade in public health and preventing disease, but a reduction in the number of people smoking won’t happen on its own. We need well-funded tools to help smokers to quit, like local stop-smoking services, but cuts to public health budgets are making it harder for smokers to get this support. The government must make good on its promise of an ambitious new tobacco strategy, and provide sustainable funding to deliver it.” Ms Cox said.
Rich poor divide
The rate of smoking for people who engage in routine and manual jobs continues to be stubbornly high, however it has fallen to 26.5 per cent down from 28 per cent in 2015. The data also draws a clear connection between the number of years of life lost as a result of smoking related illness and wealth. There is a clear rich-poor divide with those living in the poorest areas twice as likely to die from smoking related disease than those living in the richest. It also appears that fewer people are setting definite dates of when they will quit with the number of people setting a quit date falling to 5,549 per 100,000 people.