Smoking still a 'big public health problem' in Doncaster but 'numbers are falling'

Around one in five adults smoke in Doncaster according to council figures.
Around one in five adults smoke in Doncaster according to council figures.

Doncaster's high rates of smoking remains a 'big public health problem' but numbers are 'falling', council health bosses have said.

Dr Victor Joseph, a public health consultant with Doncaster Council, told councillors at a meeting on Monday the borough still has a large percentage of smokers when compared to the rest of the country.

Latest figures show nearly 20 per cent of people over the age of 18 smoke in Doncaster which is 'significantly worse' than the England average of 15.5 per cent.

But Dr Joseph said numbers are falling in Doncaster and across the country but 'more needs to be done' to bring this figure down further.

He said around '50,000' adults smoke in Doncaster.

Latest figures show Blackpool has the highest numbers of smokers per population in England with 27 per cent of adults who take up the habit.

The local authority has set an ambitious target of reducing the number of people who smoke in the borough to 10 per cent by 2022.

A report seen by members on the Health and Adults Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Panel shows the council has undertaken a 'self-assessment' on tobacco control and an 'action

plan' has been developed to bring the numbers down.

Dr Joseph said people from poorer backgrounds and those suffering from mental health issues are more likely to smoke.

"We have around 50,000 smokers in Doncaster and smoking is still a big public health problem. But in the last several years the number of people who smoke is coming down.

"We need to sustain that reduction going forward. Nationally it is decreasing but for Doncaster, it's probably not falling fast enough.

"New people are starting to smoke - there is no easy solution in reducing the number of people who take it up particularly children in schools who often follow on from their family and friends."

Councillors agreed to the recommendations set out to help reduce smoking in the borough.