COMMENT: Help is at hand to break the vicious cycle

Anyone who made a new near resolution to quit smoking but is finding the going tough might take encouragement from our story that the number of smokers in some parts of Hampshire is dangerously high.

Monday, 28th January 2019, 4:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:29 pm

Gosport and Havant have been singled out as smoking blackspots, with Hampshire County Council figures showing that 19.6 per cent of adults in Gosport are smokers – 5.2 per cent higher than the county average.

Havant’s smoking rate stands at 21.4 per cent – the highest in Hampshire. Fareham’s smoking rate stands at 8.7 per cent, while 15.2 per cent of adults in Portsmouth are smokers, according to Public Health England.

Gosport is tackling the issue head-on by launching a Quit4Life campaign, with the aim of creating a smoke-free generation in future years.

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It’s an admirable ambition, as it is widely recognised that smoking is a danger to health, costing the NHS millions of pounds each year.

Smokers know that, of course, and many are keen to stop, but find it hard to battle the addiction. And when there are so many other smokers around you, the problem becomes a vicious circle.

As Julia Robson, clinical service manager from Quit4Life, explains, it is the poorer parts of Gosport where smoking is rife.

She explained: ‘Smoking is heavily linked to poverty and deprivation.

‘If you are surrounded by other smokers then it is harder to quit – and easier to start.

‘It’s a tough cycle to break, especially if your close friends or parents area smokers.’

The campaign will target workplaces and schools to cut down on current smoking levels, as well as trying to educate the next generation.

Let’s hope Gosport benefits from a welcome effort to break that cycle, and let’s hope other areas, including Havant, Fareham and Portsmouth, follow suit.