Six ways health chiefs hope to improve life expectancy in Blackpool - including cracking down on smoking

Giving up smoking will have one of the biggest impacts on life expectancy in Blackpool as the resort continues to trail behind the rest of the country when it comes to living longer.
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Quitting tobacco would also ensure people have healthier lives – with frailty kicking in at just 45 years of age for some Blackpool residents.

A meeting of the Blackpool Health and Wellbeing Board also heard more money needed to be spent on preventing people from becoming chronically ill.

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Life expectancy for men in Blackpool is 74 – more than five years lower than the national average, while for women it is 79 – more than four years below the national average.

Smoking causes many poor health outcomesSmoking causes many poor health outcomes
Smoking causes many poor health outcomes

Figures from 2021 show a fifth of adults (20 per cent) in the town are smokers, compared to 13 per cent in England as a whole.

Stark figures also reveal deaths from drug misuse are four times the national rate in Blackpool, while hospital admissions due to booze-related illness are more than twice the national rate.

Karen Smith, director of health and care integration for Blackpool, warned Blackpool had an ageing population but “frailty starts at 45, not 65”.

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Chronic diseases include respiratory conditions, including asthma, while high levels of obesity among the population are also having an impact.

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But one of the main areas of focus, is to cut smoking rates.

Ms Smith said: “We are trying to cut smoking rates and that will have an impact immediately on health, chronic illness and life expectancy.”

An update on the Blackpool Place Based Partnership, whose role is to deliver integrated NHS and council care, sets out six priorities –

  • Much stronger focus on prevention
  • More integrated approach to community services
  • World class care for priority diseases
  • Better value from collective resources
  • Using data to focus on local needs
  • Strengthen neighbourhoods
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Blackpool’s director of public health Dr Arif Rajpura said improving life expectancy could only be achieved in the long term, including by prioritising prevention now.

He told the meeting: “We need to hold our nerve and each year we are going to spend more on prevention.

“It’s hard when money is short, but money should be ring-fenced for prevention and then we should stick to it.”