More than 35,000 people in South Yorkshire are having their lives blighted by chronic lung diseases caused by smoking, new figures have revealed.
Figures released by Public Health England also show that more than 2,000 people in the county died between 2012 and 2014 as a result of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – COPD.
COPD is the umbrella term for serious lung conditions that include chronic bronchitis and emphysema, with sufferers tending to have difficulties breathing, persistent coughs and frequent chest infections.
The condition can cause people to be unable to do housework or climb stairs.
To highlight the impact of the disease, PHE has released a new short film featuring Olympian Iwan Thomas, whose mother has recently been diagnosed with COPD, in an attempt to encourage smokers to quit for the New Year.
Figures show there are more than 11,000 registered sufferers in Sheffield, more than 8,000 in Doncaster and more than 7,000 in both Rotherham and Barnsley.
Between 2012 and 2014, 736 people from Sheffield died from COPD-related illnesses, along with 640 people from Doncaster, 459 from Rotherham and 439 from Barnsley.
Corinne Harvey, from PHE in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “COPD may not be well known but it can be a serious and severely debilitating disease, dramatically affecting people’s lives and leading to years of suffering.
“The single best thing a smoker can do to reduce their chances of developing this devastating disease is to stop smoking.
“January is a time when many people make New Year’s resolutions and resolving to stop smoking is the best thing you can do not only for your health but for the health of those around you.
“Search ‘Smokefree’ online or visit your local stop smoking service to get the help and support you need to quit smoking for good.”
Iwan Thomas said: “I’ve never fully understood COPD or the everyday consequences but when the simple things like climbing the stairs, making a cup of tea or walking to the bus stop become impossible, it’s serious.
“After years of smoking, it’s great that my mum is making 2016 the year she quits and I’d urge anyone who smokes to do the same.
“Quitting smoking can add years to your life and life to your years.”
n Smokers looking to quit are encouraged to search ‘Smokefree’ online or visit nhs.uk/smokefree.