‘Alarming’ smoking figures show Newham struggling to break the habit

About one in every five people smoking in Newham Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA

About one in every five people smoking in Newham Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA - Credit: PA WIRE

Smokers have been urged to quit after figures show one in five people in the borough is stuck on the habit.

Public Health England’s data show 20 per cent of Newham residents smoked in 2015, down slightly from 2014 but up on 2013 and 2012.

In England overall, meanwhile, the figure has been consistently dropping – from 19.3pc in 2012 to 16.9pc last year.

The stubborn nature of Newham’s numbers has prompted Ed Tallis, head of the capital’s services for Macmillan Cancer Support, to warn of a potentially grim future.

Labelling the data “alarming”, he said: “If the figures for Newham continue to follow this trend, or rise in forthcoming years, one of the dangers is that smoking could lead to cancer in any part of the body and so the cancer rates for people across Newham may rise.”

He added the rate, one of the highest in London, meant a fifth of people in the borough were harming “every organ of the body” and he recommended “decisive actions” by smokers to quit.

But the news is not all bad – Newham’s rates of hospital admissions and deaths caused by smoking are down, and below the England average.

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Cllr Clive Furness, mayoral adviser for adults and health, agreed those statistics were positive, but stressed smoking “is still a contributing factor in each of this borough’s biggest killers of heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease.”

He added: “This is a fact we want to change.”

Cllr Furness was also keen to stress the council is doing everything it can to help residents drop their dangerous habit.

“Over the last four years more than 10,000 residents have been supported to stop smoking through the free help and advice provided by Newham Council working with local pharmacies and the Newham CCG,”he said.

“We are committed to encouraging as many of our residents as possible to lead smoke-free lives.”

Newham CCG said quitting was the “single best thing” a smoker can do for their health.

“By stopping, you reduce the chances of you, and people around you who inhale your cigarette smoke, developing smoking-related illnesses in the future,” a spokeswoman explained.

She added that everyone invited to an NHS health check should attend.

For help stopping smoking, visit: newham.gov.uk/stopsmoking