Fresh has welcomed a new historic low for smoking rates in the North East published today by NHS Digital.
Smoking rates among adults in the North East fell from 18.7 per cent in 2015 down to 17.2 per cent in 2016.
The region also had a higher fall than England for smoking rates during pregnancy, with Smoking at the Time of Delivery rates in the North East falling from 16.7 per cent down to 16 per cent, compared to rates in England falling from 10.6 per cent to 10.5 per cent.
This means that across England, about one in twelve smokers quit during 2016; the percentage of people in England aged above 18 who were smokers in 2016 is 15.5 per cent compared to 16.9 per cent in 2015, a fall of 1.4 percentage points. This is the largest annual fall in the last 40 years.
Of particular note is the large decline among young people with smoking rates falling 6.5 per cent among 18 to 24-year-olds since 2010.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “Back in 2005, our adult smoking rates were on 29 per cent and these new figures show we are actually getting close to halving smoking.
“That’s something many people would have thought was unthinkable.
“While our rates are still too high, action is working.
“This fall is testament to the work of our local authorities and our NHS partners who have prioritised this issue.”