The number of Wiganers hospitalised for smoking-related conditions has risen

More people in Wigan went to hospital with smoking-related conditions last year, new figures published for the first time show.
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Charity Action on Smoking and Health says the increase places a “real burden” on the NHS, and calls on the Government to do more to help smokers.

Prof Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, has previously warned that smokers are also at greater risk from coronavirus.

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Data from Public Health England shows there were 3,356 admissions to hospital attributable to smoking in Wigan in 2018-19 – a two per cent rise on the year before.

More people in Wigan went to hospital with smoking-related conditions last yearMore people in Wigan went to hospital with smoking-related conditions last year
More people in Wigan went to hospital with smoking-related conditions last year

Over the 11-year period, 34,000 people were hospitalised.

The figures only include admissions for diseases that are wholly or partially attributed to smoking for people over 35.

They suggest that 1.8 per cent of over-35s in Wigan were admitted to hospital because of smoking last year.

Almost a quarter of English local authorities set a record for smoking-related hospital admissions last year, with around half a million admissions nationally.

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It was a rise of seven per cent on the year before, and the first increase since 2015-16.

Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Action on Smoking and Health said: “Most smokers start smoking as children and try many times to quit. Smokers are more likely to get sick, develop complications and take longer to recover than non-smokers.

“This places a real burden on the NHS. Government has pledged to do more to help smokers in the NHS which is welcome.

“But more action is needed to achieve Government’s vision of smoking rates of five per cent or less by 2030.

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“We are calling for a Smokefree 2030 Fund to make the high-profit tobacco

industry pay for the damage it does.”

Advice from Public Health England says that high rates of smoking attributable admissions are indicative of poor population health and high smoking prevalence.

Speaking to MPs at a Commons Health and Social Care Committee last month, Prof Whitty said smokers shouldn’t behave any differently to others in terms of self-isolation for coronavirus, but this was a very good moment to quit.

He added: “For most respiratory infections, you worry about people who smoke a bit more. They’re more likely to get it and their immune system is less good.”

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A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Robust government action, like the introduction of plain packaging and awareness campaigns, has brought smoking rates down to record low levels and our ambition is to become a smoke-free society by 2030.

“Prevention remains at the heart of our NHS Long Term Plan, and this year we have made £3bn of funding available to support local authorities, including stop-smoking services.”

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