Birmingham is seeing a large rise in the number of people who smoke, Public Health England (PHE) figures show.
In 2018, 16.2% of adults in the city admitted to being smokers, an increase of 2.5% over the previous 12 months.
This is the first time smoking has increased here since 2013.
‘It’s really disappointing that in some areas smoking rates are rising rather than declining,’ Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said.
‘This bucks the national trend of a continued decline in smoking rates.
‘It’s vital that much more is done to discourage people from taking up smoking.
‘(Things) such as mass media campaigns and more effective education on the deadly health effects caused by smoking.
‘It’s also clear that much more needs to be done to help people quit.’
Declining smoking rates
Smoking rates on average have been on the decline, with PHE saying 14.4% of adults in England now smoke.
This is a drop of almost two million smokers since 2011.
Despite the drop, the government recognises there are large inequalities, with 25 to 34-year-old smoking rates remaining stubbornly high.
‘The most effective way to quit smoking is with treatment alongside behavioural support,’ Dr Woods continues.
‘Patient choice is key, what works for one person may not work for another.
‘So, it’s really important that anyone who wants to quit has access to a menu of options.
‘Unfortunately there is a postcode lottery when it comes to accessing this help.
‘If the government wants to make its aim of England being smoke free by 2030 a reality they must act urgently and invest in public health, to ensure that everyone has access to the best help to quit wherever they live.’
Smoke free by 2030
The government is planning on eliminating smoking from Britain under plans published in the Daily Mail.
Tobacco companies will be required to cover the cost of helping smokers to quit by 2030.
Actions to help people quit include leaflets placed inside cigarette packets and targeting black market cigarettes.
‘The gains in tobacco control have been hard-won, and there’s still much to do,’ the plans say.
‘For the 15% of adults who are not yet smoke-free, smoking is the leading cause of ill-health and early death, and a major cause of inequalities.
‘That’s why the government wants to finish the job.’