Number of Wigan smokers at a record low

Kicking the habit
Kicking the habit

Kicking the habit is becoming a habit for Wiganers as the number of regular smokers in the borough has hit a record low.

Public health bosses say the figures are the result of an “enormous amount of hard work” and reflect changing attitudes toward the vice.

This is the result of an enormous amount of hard work by our staff over a number of years and shows that the approaches we are using to reduce smoking prevalence are working, including those services available via HealthyRoutes Wigan

Prof Kate Ardern

In 2013, when the town hall took control of public health services, the rate of smokers among the population stood at 22.7 per cent.

According to latest figures, the rate as dropped to 18.7 per cent, the lowest recorded level.

Meanwhile, the proportion of women who smoke at the time of delivery has fallen by a quarter to 14.8 per cent.

Prof Kate Ardern, Wigan Council’s director of public health, said although her staff were delighted with the falling trend, there is no time for complacency.

She told the Wigan Post: “This is the result of an enormous amount of hard work by our staff over a number of years and shows that the approaches we are using to reduce smoking prevalence are working, including those services available via HealthyRoutes Wigan.

“We have made great strides in the effectiveness of our services and our innovative approach has been praised nationally by the head of the NHS Simon Stevens.

“The most important consequence of these figures is that they should translate into better health for our adult residents including lower risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease as well as lower risk of many cancers including lung cancer.

“Crucially they should also mean better health for infants with a lower risk of low birth weight, premature birth and sudden unexpected death in infancy.”

Health bosses have also revealed that borough smokers will receive a further boost in attempts to kick the habit when a new Quit Buddy App is launched to coincide with No Smoking Day on March 8.

The latest figures state the proportion of adults that work in routine and manual occupations that are current smokers in the borough has fallen from 31.4 in 2012 to 24.4 per cent in 2015, a proportionate fall of 22.3 per cent.

Prof Ardern added: “To further improve the health of the Wigan borough population we need to continue to reduce these figures.

“There is no room for complacency.

“But we are delighted that we have the lowest recorded level of adult smokers in the borough since records began.”

There was a time when the majority of the adult population smoked.

Figures from the 1940s show that more than half of women regularly lit up while two thirds of men did the same. Since the 1980s there has been a gradual decline in smoking rates, hastened further by the banned of smoking in public places which was introduced a decade ago.