More people quit smoking in the East Riding during pandemic, NHS Digital data shows

A higher proportion of smokers in the East Riding quit during the coronavirus pandemic than the year before, figures suggest.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 3:12 pm
NHS Digital data shows 630 people in the East Riding set a date to quit using the NHS Stop Smoking Service. Photo: PA Images

With quitting success rates rising across England, the charity Action on Smoking and Health said smokers – particularly older ones – have been prompted by health fears from the Covid-19 crisis.

NHS Digital data shows 630 people in the East Riding set a date to quit using the NHS Stop Smoking Service between April last year and March.

At follow-up meetings held a month later, 389 said they had given up – 62%.

The previous year, 58% of people in the East Riding said they had successfully quit smoking.

Nationally, the self-reported quit rate rose from 51% to 59% over this period, though success varied significantly between 82% in North East Lincolnshire and just 21% in Harrow.

Jon Foster, senior policy officer at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: “If the Government is serious about reaching its own ambition for a smoke-free England by 2030, then they need to reverse the 50% cuts that local stop smoking services have seen over the past few years.

“The Government should implement a smoke-free fund, using profits from tobacco companies to pay for measures to prevent people from starting to smoke, and to support those who do to quit.”

The figures show five under-18s in the East Riding set a date to quit last year, with two of them saying they had given up a month later.

The Department for Health and Social Care said UK smoking rates are at record low levels, and the Government was on track to make England smoke free by 2030.

A spokeswoman added: “We are addressing the damaging health implications of smoking right across the country, especially where rates remain stubbornly high.

“Our new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will support efforts to level up public health and ensure no communities are left behind.”