Fall in Valley smoking rates
Smoking rates have fallen in Ribble Valley – meaning the area is well below the national average.
But campaign group Action on Smoking and Health says smoking remains the leading cause of premature death in the UK, and that there is a long way to go before the country is truly smoke-free.
The Office for National Statistics estimates 5.1% of adults in Ribble Valley smoked in 2019.
Smoking rates have fallen in the area from 2018, when 8.3% of those aged 18 and over smoked – though fewer than 100 people were surveyed in 2019 for the sample.
Throughout the UK, the proportion of smokers has fallen every year since 2011, reaching a record low of 14.1% in 2019.
Across England, the rate now stands at 13.9% – the lowest of all four countries in the UK.
But anti-smoking charity ASH said there are “enormous differences” across the country when it comes to smoking habits.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “The year-on-year decline in the proportion of people smoking has continued so only one in seven people now smoke, the lowest ever recorded.
“But that means there are 6.9 million smokers, and smoking remains the leading cause of premature death in the UK killing nearly 100,000 people a year, with 30 times as many living with serious smoking-related diseases.
“We’ve still got a long way to go before this country is truly smoke-free.”
The ONS estimates a further 25.2% of adults have quit smoking in Ribble Valley, with the remaining 69.6% saying they had never done so. Men were more likely to smoke than women – 8.4% of males were smokers, compared to 2.3% of females.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said England’s smoking rate of 13.9% is one of the best in Europe, but is still short of the Government’s 2017 Tobacco control plan of 12% or less.
She added: “The UK is recognised internationally for its tough regulatory approach on tobacco control and reducing smoking harms. However, we are not complacent and our ambition is for England to become a smoke-free society by 2030.”