Number of smokers falls to lowest level on record in South Tyneside - with hopes pandemic will help encourage even more to quit

The number of adult smokers in South Tyneside has dropped to its lowest level on record.

By Ross Robertson
Monday, 13th July 2020, 12:19 pm
Updated Monday, 13th July 2020, 12:19 pm

The percentage of adult smokers in the borough was 16.3% in 2019, after falling steadily from 22.7% when the survey began in 2011.

This means there are now around 7,500 fewer smokers in South Tyneside.

The rate of smoking among pregnant women has been almost halved since 2014/15 when South Tyneside had the North East’s worst rate at 25.9%. The figure is now 13.9%.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Independence and Wellbeing, said: “These latest figures are good news and testament to the hard work that has been made to help people to quit.

"I’d like to congratulate every single person who has managed to successfully kick the habit.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has really brought home how important health is, especially for those people, such as smokers, who are at higher risk of more severe symptoms from Coronavirus as well as increased risks of heart attacks, stroke, COPD, diabetes and cancer. I would urge smokers to get behind the latest campaign and ‘Quit for COVID’.

“We are not complacent, we recognise there is still work to do and we remain committed to driving down smoking statistics still further.”

Coun Dixon said effective stop smoking services across the borough within GPs, pharmacies, children’s centres, education settings and community facilities have been “key to this success”.

“It has been proven that by using these services people are three times more likely to quit than going it alone,” she said.

Council chiefs say a new package of support will soon be launched to provide additional support for those keen to stop smoking.

This will include access to a new premium smartphone app targeting pregnant smokers and those with long-term conditions.

A new peer support model is also set to be introduced which will harness the support of local ex-smokers and volunteers.

The council will also support a new campaign around the dangers of second-hand smoke.

Figures show children living in a home where the parents smoke are 90% more likely to start smoking themselves while exposure to other people’s smoke increases the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers by 20 – 30% and the risk of coronary heart disease by up to 35%.

Councillor Dixon added: “Exposure to second-hand smoke results in almost 13,000 hospital admissions or visits to the doctor in the North East every year.

"In South Tyneside we hope to create a network of smoke-free settings and public places as we have done with the hospital Trust to better protect our residents and give young people the best start in life in the years to come.”

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