A fifth of people in Ipswich still smoke - one of the highest rates in Britain
- Credit: PA
Ipswich has one of the highest proportion of smokers in Britain, it can be revealed.
A fifth of people living in Ipswich smoke, the Office for National Statistics data shows.
While smoking rates have declined, Ipswich’s rate remains four times higher than in Christchurch, Dorset, where just 4.6% of people smoke, the lowest percentage in Britain.
Smoking rates across the country have fallen steadily amid nationwide health campaigns. In Ipswich the proportion of smokers has fallen from 23.6% in 2011 to 20% last year.
Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health, James Reeder, said the council took helping people to quit smoking “very seriously”.
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“Three people in Suffolk die from smoking related illnesses each day,” he said.
“That’s why we have to take it very seriously.
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“Last year our initiatives helped 1,624 people quit smoking.
“We are working with other partners in the health system to ensure prevention is included in the new integrated care system being delivered through the alliances.”
OneLife Suffolk are the lead organisation helping people in the county quit smoking, which it says provides “many benefits” including better fitness levels, longer life and less stress.
According to the ONS data, the biggest reduction in smoking rates is among younger people. In Ipswich the proportion of people who have never smoked has risen by 22% since 2011, because people aged 18-24 are choosing not to.
Deborah Arnott, Action on Smoking and Health chief executive, said this was down to banning tobacco advertising.
“The brightly coloured pack displays we used to have in shops disappeared completely in 2015 and the packs they see nowadays are a sludgy green colour, with large picture warnings, rather than the brightly coloured, highly branded packs we used to have,” she said.
“Is it any wonder young people today increasingly choose not to smoke. It’s much less cool than it used to be.”
A rise in the use of e-cigarettes has also been attributed to the decline in smoking - with an estimated 2.8 million vapers across Britain.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said: “Smoking rates have dropped by almost a quarter in five years, a triumphant step in eliminating the nation’s biggest killer.
“The data shows we are winning the war on tobacco and that we are tantalisingly close to creating the first-ever smoke-free generation in England.
“But that war will only be won if we make more progress in helping people from deprived areas and people suffering from poor mental health, where we know smoking rates remain stubbornly high.”