People who smoke

People who smoke

Smoking remains the greatest contributor to premature death and disease across Northumberland.

It is estimated that up to half the difference in life expectancy between the most and least affluent groups is associated with smoking, and in Northumberland, smoking prevalence is around the national average, with death rates being statistically significantly higher than the rest of England.

Despite considerable effort and activity, smoking among young people has remained relatively stable since 1998, however, there is no local data to monitor this prevalence.

It is estimated that 87% of deaths from lung cancer, 73% of deaths from upper respiratory cancer and 86% of deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are attributable to smoking.

In 2008 and 2009 in Northumberland, 20.2% of pregnant women were smokers at the time of delivery.

Stop smoking support from the NHS is available to all smokers, free of charge, in all communities across England. NHS stop smoking services are extremely cost-effective compared with other healthcare interventions, and smokers who use NHS support are up to four times more likely to quit successfully than those trying to use the ‘cold turkey’ method.

Seven out of ten smokers say they want to quit, but only around half of these respond positively when asked about taking immediate action on their smoking behaviour. Annually, around 5% of smokers report that they use the NHS stop smoking service.

Reducing smoking rates in deprived communities is one of the greatest challenges in health improvement, but it is vital to closing the health inequalities gap. There has been an increase in investment in publicity and social marketing activities, particularly focused on routine and manual workers.

The health inequalities national support team recommends that those in greatest need should be targeted, recognising the multiplicity of risk (those with cardiovascular disease, those who are obese and pregnant women) and the potential for the biggest returns in health gain.

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