Smoking rates in Doncaster and Sheffield are the lowest ever recorded

In Yorkshire and the Humber smoking prevalence has declined by 0.3 percentage points to 16.7%.

By Stephanie Bateman
Monday, 08 July, 2019, 09:27
Smoking is at a low

This decline – to the lowest level ever recorded – comes with strong support from the public for Government to do more to limit tobacco and to enforce stronger regulations on tobacco companies.

Although nationally smoking rates fell from 14.9% to 14.4%, the rate of decline has slowed compared to previous years.

Deborah Arnott chief executive of health charity ASH said: “Smoking rates in Yorkshire and Humber fell last year, but while this is the lowest ever recorded, the rate of decline is slower than the national average and people in the region want Government to do more to limit smoking.

“In its forthcoming Prevention Green Paper the Government must respond to public demand and impose a ‘polluter pays’ levy on the tobacco industry, as well as implementing tougher laws on smoking, such as increasing the age of sale for cigarettes to 21.”

A YouGov poll commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), found that more than three quarters (77%) of adults in Yorkshire and the Humber support activities to limit smoking or think government should do more, with the proportion thinking government should do more growing significantly over time.

More than three quarters (77%) of adults in Yorkshire and the Humber support activities to limit smoking or think Government should do more.

Support for Government to do more to limit smoking increased from 26% in 2009 [2] to 45% in 2019.

The proportion of respondents who think that Government is doing too much has fallen from 21% in 2009 to 7% today.

With publication of the Prevention Green Paper due imminently ASH is calling on Matt Hancock MP, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to include a commitment to ending smoking in all our communities by 2035. This target is supported by ASH and over 100 other national and local organisations including medical royal colleges, health charities, local authorities and NHS organisations.

Ending smoking by 2035 is achievable if the Government introduces tough new tobacco regulations, all of which are supported by the public, including [2]:

Requiring businesses to have a licence to sell tobacco which they can lose if they sell to underage smokers (81% of adults in Yorkshire and the Humber support, only 3% oppose).

Making tobacco manufacturers pay a levy or licence fee to Government to help smokers quit and prevent young people from taking up smoking, (72% of adults in Yorkshire and the Humber support, only 6% oppose).

Requiring tobacco manufacturers to include Government mandated information about quitting inside cigarette packs (64% of adults in Yorkshire and the Humber support, only 8% oppose).

Prohibiting smoking in all private vehicles, not just those carrying children under 18 (63% support 18% oppose).

Increasing the age of sale from 18 to 21 (56% of adults in Yorkshire and the Humber support, only 16% oppose).

A regional briefing on support for new tobacco regulations is also available on the ASH website.