Portsmouth sees number of smokers drop by 8,000
THE number of smokers in Portsmouth has decreased by more than 8,000 people.
The recent figures from Public Health England shows the percentage of residents who smoke in the city has dropped from 20 per cent in 2016 to 15 per cent in 2017.
In 2016, there wereÂ 33,967 smokersÂ but that dropped by 8,272 toÂ 25,695 last year.
The new data means Portsmouth is now level with the national trend for the first time in five years.
Meanwhile, the area covered by Hampshire County Council saw a small increase in smokers. In 2016, 13 per cent of the county's population, excluding Portsmouth and Southampton, smoked, compared to 14 per cent in 2017.
This is 8,303 additional smokers and means the local authority is now level with the England trend, rather than above it like recent years.
The figures from Public Health England also show the number of adults who have never smoked in Portsmouth increased from 41 per cent in 2015 to 55 per cent in 2017.
This means around 24,000 people aged over 18 in the city have never smoked.
Councillor Matthew Winnington, cabinet member for heath, wellbeing andÂ social care at Portsmouth City Council, said; '˜It's fantastic that fewer people are smoking in Portsmouth as we know this will lead to lives being saved and more people being able to live a greater number of years in better health.
'˜This decline is likely to be a combined result of the continued work of the Public Health team in encouraging and supporting residents to quit and an increased uptake in e-cigarettes.
'˜WhileÂ the best option is not to smoke at all we're supportive of using e-cigarettes as the evidence shows them to be far less damaging than tobacco.'
The Public Health team at the council will be focused on helping those in routine and manual jobs to quit, reducing smoking during pregnancy and stamping out illegal tobacco. Â
An illegal tobacco roadshow isÂ taking place today at Asda Fratton between 10am and 4pm. It will be helping theÂ public understand what illegal tobacco looks like and what the dangers are, and encourage people toÂ report illegal tobacco being sold in their neighbourhood.
The search dogs who help to uncover illegal tobacco will be there along with Trading Standards.