More people in Doncaster quit smoking during pandemic

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

By Barbara Craythorn
Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 1:26 pm
Overall,  people have been quitting smoking with greater success during the pandemic."
Overall, people have been quitting smoking with greater success during the pandemic."

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 2,266 people in Doncaster 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, 1,680 said they had given up – 74%.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The previous year, 64% of people in Doncaster said they had successfully quit smoking.

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."

Some 1,700 smokers looking to kick the habit across England last year were aged under 18 – and 45% reported quitting.

ASH said there is some evidence that the pandemic has changed smokers' relationship to tobacco.

Hazel Cheeseman, deputy chief executive of the charity, added: "Recent research highlighted that younger people appear to have been taking up or going back to smoking in larger numbers.

"It appears likely that for younger people the stress of lockdown has led to more smoking while for older smokers health fears have prompted more quitting.

"Overall, people have been quitting with greater success in the pandemic."

Figures show three under-18s in Doncaster set a date to quit last year, with all 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."