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Stoptober plea as Erewash tops league for smoking

CIGARETTE addicts across Erewash are being urged to join the Stoptober crusade  amid shock new figures exposing the borough as the smoking capital of Derbyshire – as PM Rishi Sunak unveiled plans to outlaw the habit.

Almost one in five of the area’s adults is estimated to be still puffing away. The rate even went UP last year – bucking the nationwide trend.

The UK average in 2022 hit a record low of 12.9 per cent, according to the Office for National Statistics. But analysis of the ONS data shows Erewash’s rate rose to 18.9 per cent from 18.6 per cent the year before.

Amazingly a quarter of men in the borough continue to smoke, according to the data analysis. The figure for women is 13.6 per cent.

The charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) described the bombshell as a “wake up call”. The government’s target is 5 per cent by 2030.

The PM pledged in his speech to the Conservative Party to gradually raise the age limit for buying tobacco.

The vow came after ASH’s chief executive Deborah Arnott said that even where smoking rates were falling it was “not nearly fast enough to deliver on the government’s ambition”.

Erewash Borough Council is begging residents to put their health first amid fears the cost-of-living challenge is making the smoking rate worse despite the crippling price of cigarettes.

Ms Arnott said: “Financial stress and poor mental health are on the rise, which we know makes it harder for smokers to quit.”

The use of e-cigarettes is rising – with 5.2 per cent of over-16s using them. Ms Arnott welcomed the gadgets as an aid to quitting smoking but pointed to a worrying 15.5 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds taking up vaping.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it is looking to “balance the public health opportunities vaping offers to smokers, while protecting young people and non-smokers from using them”.

Support for those trying to quit cigs is available via Live Life Better Derbyshire. People who seek help are four times more likely to kick the habit.

A spokesman for the organisation, which offers one-to-one support and free aids such as nicotine patches and gum, said: “It’s never too late to quit smoking. Your body starts to repair from the moment you stop.” The freephone hotline is 0800 085 2299 and there is a website link here: Stopping smoking – Live Life Better Derbyshire

The NHS has advice on the web, including a free Stoptober app that can be downloaded. Councillor Claire Mare Poole, who is Erewash’s Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

       “Smoking has absolutely nothing going for it. It is a killer, it costs the NHS a fortune and hits you in the pocket.

        “Those addicted are simply left feeding a compulsion for another fag and don’t even get much pleasure from it any more. Stoptober is the perfect time to try to start kicking the habit. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Your lungs will love you for it.”

The next highest smoking rate for both males and females in the county is estimated to be 17.3 per cent in Bolsover. In Derbyshire Dales it is just 6.8 per cent.

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