Report warns smoking still the main cause of premature death in Blackpool

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More people in Blackpool are getting help to quit smoking thanks to a new service in the resort – as a new report has warned smoking remains the main cause of early deaths.

The Blackpool NHS Tobacco Addiction Service is now in its second year and figures show it helped 366 people give up smoking in 2022.

For the first six months of this year, 222 people given support have successfully quit at four-weeks equating to a quit rate of 46 per cent.

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Members of the council’s Levelling Up Scrutiny Committee, who were presented with an update report on the service, welcomed the findings.

Smoking causes premature deathsSmoking causes premature deaths
Smoking causes premature deaths

Nearly a quarter of residents (23 per cent) in Blackpool smoke, compared to the national average of 13 per cent, while only six per cent of people smoke who live in the more affluent parts of the UK.

While the meeting was told vapes had been ‘significant’ in weaning people off tobacco which is more harmful than nicotine, councillors said they were concerned about the widespread use of vapes instead.

Coun Danny Scott said: “I think e-cigarettes have been very cleverly disguised and it’s a particular concern when they are aimed at children.

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“Some of the cartridges contain very strong levels of nicotine, and it’s a major problem and there is a tidal wave of it coming in.”

Members of the committee were told public health services in Blackpool were opposed to vaping and a full report would be presented to a future meeting of the committee.

The achievements of the Blackpool Tobacco Addiction Service came out as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced plans to raise the legal age of smoking every year by a year so that eventually no-one can buy tobacco.

The Blackpool Council report warned: “Smoking is still by far the greatest cause of ill-health and premature death in Blackpool.

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“For many people smoking is a chronic and relapsing addiction, which generally begins in childhood, and is not a lifestyle choice.

“Our principle aim as a service is to contribute to reducing the inter-generational cycle of tobacco harm, especially in our most deprived communities, by offering accessible stop smoking services to those who need them.”

The service offers a 12-week programme of support with nicotine replacement therapy the main tool to help smokers give up.

Coun John Boughton said helping people to stop smoking would “give people better quality of life and longevity” as well as saving the NHS money in the future.