Health chiefs concerned at rising number of Bassetlaw smokers

Library picture
Library picture

Bassetlaw has one of the highest proportions of smokers in Britain, new figures have revealed.

Almost one in five people in Bassetlaw smoke, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

That’s almost four times as many smokers as in Christchurch, Dorset, where just 4.6 per cent of people smoke, the lowest percentage in Britain.

Worryingly the number of smokers in Bassetlaw is increasing, despite a successful and sustained anti-tobacco strategy from the Government.

In 2011, 15.9 per cent of Bassetlaw’s population smoked. By 2017 this figure had risen to 19.6 per cent.

By contrast smoking rates across the country are down overall.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, commented: “Smoking rates have dropped by almost a quarter in five years, a triumphant step in eliminating the nation’s biggest killer.

“The data shows we are winning the war on tobacco and that we are tantalisingly close to creating the first-ever smoke-free generation in England.

“But that war will only be won if we make more progress in helping people from deprived areas and people suffering from poor mental health, where we know smoking rates remain stubbornly high.”

Deborah Arnott, Action on Smoking and Health chief executive, said: “Smoking rates have fallen because. over the last 20 years, the Government has gone further and faster in tackling smoking.

“Britain has kept its tobacco taxes amongst the highest in the world, banned advertising promotion and sponsorship, put tobacco out of sight in shops and replaced the glitzy, brightly coloured packs with ugly dark packs with large picture warnings.

“But smoking must become history for all of society not just for the wealthy.

“Cuts in public health funding and lack of treatment for smoking on the NHS mean poorer more heavily addicted smokers, including those who are pregnant, are not getting the help they need to quit.”

The data also suggests that more young adults are shunning cigarettes.

The percentage of Bassetlaw’s population who have never smoked has risen by four per cent since 2011, because 18 to 24-year-olds are choosing not to.

Last year, across Britain, 17.8 per cent of people in this age bracket said they were smokers.

In 2011 more than a quarter of young adults said they smoked.

This is the biggest drop in smokers out of any age group.

Ms Arnott put this down to banning tobacco advertising.

She continued: “The brightly coloured pack displays we used to have in shops disappeared completely in 2015 and the packs they see nowadays are a sludgy green colour, with large picture warnings, rather than the brightly coloured, highly branded packs we used to have.

“Is it any wonder young people today increasingly choose not to smoke?

“It’s much less cool than it used to be.”

This has been helped by the rise of e-cigarettes.

The Office for National Statistics estimates there are 2.8 million vapers in Britain, and almost half said their reason for taking it up was to stop smoking.