FEWER smokers are lighting-up in Yorkshire – thanks to the smoking ban.
New figures released by the NHS today show more than 6,000 people in the region have quit the unhealthy habit since new laws were introduced last July.
Health chiefs have welcomed the move, putting the area ahead of its target of encouraging 38,000 smokers to quit by the end of 2008.
Paul Johnstone, NHS Yorkshire and Humber’s director of public health, said: “These new figures are proof that the message is really getting through.
“On average a smoker’s life is fourteen years shorter than a non-smoker’s, if you add that up we’ve helped save over 80,000 years of life in the region.
“As well as the health benefits for those individuals these figures are also great news for the NHS as a whole.
“With smoking related incidents putting extra strain on our resources, in the near future we will be able to look forward to fewer cases of heart and lung disease, fewer cancer and stroke cases and also healthier babies because fewer women now smoke during pregnancy.”
Government figures compiled as part of the General Household Survey 2006 also showed a 2% drop in the number of British adults smoking from 24% to 22%.
Smoking campaign group ASH welcomed the positive step, but urged the Government not to be complacent.
Director Deborah Arnott said: “The Government should be congratulated for this impressive result which shows what can be achieved if resources are given to tackling tobacco use.
“However, in order to drive smoking rates down further it’s important that the Government build successes and implement a comprehensive tobacco control strategy.”
She said raising the tax on tobacco and tightening controls on sales would help reduce the number of smokers further.
Anybody wanting to quit smoking can take advantage of a package of support available free through the NHS.
For further information call 0800 9176699.