Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest a significant decline in the number of adults who are smoking across Sheffield, with official figures dropping from 17 per cent in 2017 to 12.5 per cent in 2018.
This means not only that more than 20,000 people in the city are thought to have stopped in the last year, but also that Sheffield has fallen for the first time below the national average, currently 14.4 per cent.
The news was welcomed Smokefree Sheffield, a three-year initiative is commissioned by Sheffield Council to reduce smoking across the city.
Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure at Sheffield City Council said: “In Sheffield we have worked hard over many years to address the issue of smoking and we have worked equally hard to sustain the £1m investment in tobacco control.
“From October 2017 we have delivered a comprehensive programme in line with the World Health Organisation’s evidence.
“We believe we have the balance of interventions, services and policy in place to tackle smoking at both an individual and population level.
“Our harm reduction approach in the city encourages those who can’t or don’t want to stop smoking to switch to vaping – and many people have.
“We have strong engagement from a range of city partners all working collectively to combat tobacco addiction.
“We believe all of this underpins our local achievements and this is why we are seeing more and more people quit tobacco each year in our city.”
Greg Fell, director of public health at Sheffield City Council, said the figures were a significant step towards their ambition of achieving a ‘smoke free generation’ in the city by 2025.
He said: “Looking back at the data since 2015 we seem to have significantly accelerated a downward trend.
“This is a huge drop in one year alone and while we are pleased to see smoking rates coming down in Sheffield, we are being slightly cautious about over interpreting the data and recognise we still have a lot of work to do.”
For more information, or for help and support on stopping smoking, visit the Smokefree Sheffield website at www.smokefreesheffield.org.