Smoking rates in Burnley among the highest in the UK
Burnley is home to more smokers than almost anywhere else in the UK, new figures show.
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 21.5% of adults in Burnley smoked in 2019.
That was among the highest proportion in the UK – though the rate has decreased from 24.8% the year before.
The proportion of smokers across the UK 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.
In Corby, in the East Midlands, 27.5% of adults were smokers in 2019, compared to just 3.4% in Hart, in the South East.
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 26.2% of adults have quit smoking in Burnley, with the remaining 52.3% saying they had never done so.
Women were more likely to smoke than men – 24.3% of females were smokers, compared to 18.7% of males.
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.”