Published on

13 March 2024

Refusing to quit while we are ahead on smoking targets

The proportion of people who smoke in Wokingham Borough has fallen but there is still work to be done

No Smoking Day

Wokingham Borough has the lowest percentage of smokers of any county or unitary authority in the entire country.

In the last 10 years, the percentage of residents who smoke has fallen from 12.7 per cent to 4.6 per cent. A smokefree 2030 target was set out by central government in 2019, with the aim of achieving five per cent or lower. This means the borough has achieved this target six years ahead of schedule.

This year, National No Smoking Day falls on Wednesday 13 March and acts as a timely reminder to inspire and support smokers to quit for good. First held in 1984, the primary aim of the day is to highlight the health risks associated with smoking and encourage smokers to commit to quit.

An ongoing partnership with Smokefreelife Berkshire, the council’s stop smoking provider, has helped many residents achieve their goal of giving up. As well as providing support to help smokers quit, the council is also working with schools and communities to prevent the uptake of smoking and vaping in young people through activities such as interactive workshops.

Cllr David Hare, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services, said: “Giving up smoking is one of the most challenging things a person can do, but these figures show it is not impossible.

“The service provided by Smokefreelife Berkshire has been supporting residents to achieve their goal and played a huge role in the borough reaching the smoke free target well ahead of schedule. We will not be resting on our laurels, as we want to see that number come down even more in the coming years.

“If you want to quit smoking, get help through Smokefreelife, for your own good as well as the health of your family and friends. The health benefits to quitting are vast and having a happy and healthy population is one of our main priorities.”

Helping you to quit for good

A free service provided by Solutions 4 Health, Smokefreelife offers a range of support to those looking to quit, including one-to-one and group sessions, telephone appointments and drop-in clinics.

When it comes to the smoking rates of all council areas  in the country, Wokingham Borough is tied for the fourth-lowest prevalence with Surrey Heath. Maldon (4.4 per cent), Rushcliffe (4 per cent) and Stafford (2.9 per cent) perform better in this area.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable ill health and death in England and a significant contributor to inequalities in life expectancy. 

Giving up smoking can lead to a drastic improvement in your health, reducing your risk of developing a number of illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and lung disease. You will increase your lung capacity and reduce the harm of second-hand smoke to those around you.

Smokefreelife Berkshire offers a ‘Quitline’ with weekly consultation via text, telephone or video chat. There is also a free 12-week programme of nicotine replacement therapy with behavioural support.

In addition to the local support available, you can find out more information on the NHS website, which has lots of tips and gives you the chance to create your own personal quit plan. More information on how to quit is available on the Smokefreelife Berkshire website.

You can also download the NHS Quit Smoking app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store to help you on your journey.

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