Wigan children using NHS quit smoking service
More than a dozen children in Wigan used an NHS service to try and quit smoking during the coronavirus pandemic, figures reveal.
The charity Action on Smoking and Health said the stress of lockdown likely affected young people, as figures show they were the least successful age group to kick the habit across England.
NHS Digital data shows 18 under-18s in Wigan set a date to quit using the NHS Stop Smoking Service between April last year and March.
At follow-up meetings held a month later, eight said they had given up.
Of the 1,700 child smokers looking to kick the habit across England last year, 45 per cent reported quitting.
Though up from 41 per cent the previous year, it was still the lowest success rate of any category, and well behind the 61 per cent of people aged 60 and over who achieved the same.
ASH said there is some evidence that the pandemic has changed smokers’ relationship to tobacco.
Hazel Cheeseman, deputy chief executive of the charity, added: “Recent research highlighted that younger people appear to have been taking up or going back to smoking in larger numbers. It appears likely that for younger people the stress of lockdown has led to more smoking while for older smokers health fears have prompted more quitting.
“Overall, people have been quitting with greater success in the pandemic.”
In Wigan, 61 per cent of people of all ages said they had successfully quit smoking last year – up from 42 per cent the year before.
Jon Foster, senior policy officer at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: “If the Government is serious about reaching its own ambition for a smoke-free England by 2030, then they need to reverse the 50 per cent cuts that local stop smoking services have seen over the past few years.”
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