The prevalence of smoking among persons aged 18 years and over in Warwickshire, in 2013, was 14.5%. NHS Stop Smoking Services data for 2014-15 indicates that 3,508 people had set a quit date between April 2014 and December 2014 and that 1,438 (41%) had successfully quit.
In 2014/15, 11.5% of mothers in Warwickshire were estimated to be smoking at time of delivery. This equates to around 700 babies born in Warwickshire who have effectively already been smoking for nine months.
A recent survey on smoking behaviour amongst young people found that 8.2% of 15 year olds in Warwickshire were current smokers, in line with the England figure, whilst 22.7% had tried smoking at least once. Girls (9.7%) in Warwickshire were more likely to be current smokers than boys (6.8%). 17.5% had tried e-cigarettes on at least one occasion.
Smoking is the principle cause of preventable premature death – killing more people than the combined total of the six next largest causes put together – a total of around 100,000 deaths in the UK each year. Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancers, which in Warwickshire, leads to around 250 deaths per year. It also causes cancer in many other parts of the body such as the mouth, bladder, kidney and stomach.
Smoking prevalence trends suggest that the proportion of adult smokers in Warwickshire has fallen from 19.8% in 2010 to 14.5% in 2013; the second lowest among upper tier local authorities in the region. At District/Borough level, rates have also fallen but are more variable, ranging from 12.4% in North Warwickshire Borough to 18.2% in Warwick District.
There has also been a downward trend in smoking in pregnancy data in the last couple of years, from 17.6% in 2012/13, to 11.5% in 2014/15. At CCG level, overall numbers of women smoking in pregnancy across Coventry & Warwickshire have fallen from 1,303 to 1,219, despite a small rise of 19 instances in South Warwickshire CCG, resulting in an increased rate of 8.7% (from 8.3% in 2013/14).
Very few adults take up smoking for the first time. Two thirds of smokers say they began before they were legally old enough to buy cigarettes and nine out of ten before the age of 19.
At least 20% of our children live in a house where people smoke. Children of smokers are almost twice as likely to be admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties as those that live in a smoke free home.
Smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of health inequalities and increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and chronic respiratory disease. Over half of the health inequalities between the north and the south of the county are estimated to result from differential smoking behaviours.
There is a strong link between smoking and socio-economic status. For instance, the smoking prevalence rate in Warwickshire for those who are routine/manual workers was estimated at 22.2% in 2013 (29.2% in 2012). It is estimated that each year in Warwickshire, smoking costs society £110m. This includes lost/reduced productivity, treatment costs, accidental fires and waste.
* Apportioned to 28% of cancer deaths, 35% of respiratory deaths, 13% of CVD deaths. Source: Primary Care Mortality Database