Smoking rate in Portsmouth is still higher than the national average

The number of people in Portsmouth who smoke is dropping but is still above the national average
The number of people in Portsmouth who smoke is dropping but is still above the national average
Janine Andrade,  Siobhan Edwards-Bannon and Zoe Boxhall with the pupils learning about the human skeleton .
Picture : Habibur Rahman (171637-3)

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DESPITE a drop since 2012, the number of smokers in Portsmouth is still higher than the national average.

Figures from Public Health England (PHE) show 19.8 per cent of people in the city smoke while nationwide the average is 16.9 per cent.

Portsmouth is one of four areas in the south east, including Southampton, that have a higher proportion of smokers than average.

The city also sees more smoking-related deaths in a year than the national average. Between 2012 and 2014, there were 332 smoking-related deaths per 100,000 people in Portsmouth compared to the national average of 274.

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond said the number of deaths related to smoking is worrying.

‘There is some good news in these figures that show fewer people are smoking in Portsmouth but the death rate remains very high indeed and this is a cause for concern,’ she said.

‘All studies show Portsmouth does not do well in the health and lifestyle tables but there is a great deal of support through the NHS.

‘If these figures are going to improve, better education and intervention will be needed.’

PHE has launched a campaign to reduce smoking after data showed, in England, 45 people a day die of cardiovascular disease caused by smoking.

As part of the message, they have released a new short film featuring children’s television doctor Dr Ranj Singh working with primary school children to create their own heartfelt messages about the dangers of smoking.

Angela Baker, deputy director for health and wellbeing at Public Health England south east, said: ‘The Health Harms campaign will feature a lot of dramatic images of the damage tobacco smoking will cause; if that inspires anyone to quit there is a lot of help available to them to break the habit.’