Wok­ing­ham ex­pected to stub out smok­ing by 2026

The Wokingham Paper - - NEWS - By JAMES HAST­INGS news@wok­ing­ham­pa­per.co.uk

WOK­ING­HAM Bor­ough is set to be­come one of the first three places in Eng­land to go smoke free.

Health ex­perts say fig­ures show most peo­ple will stub out the habit by 2026.

Only Bris­tol is ex­pected to be­come a smoke free zone ear­lier with York in third place be­hind Wok­ing­ham.

The bor­ough is also ahead of ma­jor towns and cities in­clud­ing Portsmouth, Read­ing and Mil­ton Keynes.

One in 12 peo­ple (8.13%) in Wok­ing­ham smoked in 2017, the most re­cent year for which data is avail­able, and smok­ing preva­lence rates fell by more than 5% be­tween 2011 and 2017.

The lat­est fig­ures from Philip Mor­ris In­ter­na­tional high­light a num­ber of fac­tors be­hind the fall in smok­ing rates.

Mark MacGre­gor, the com­pany’s UK Cor­po­rate Af­fairs Di­rec­tor said these in­cluded tar­geted govern­ment cam­paigns in schools and on so­cial me­dia.

“Prob­a­bly the most ef­fec­tive de­ter­rent is the an­nual in­crease in the cost of cig­a­rettes in the bud­get,” he added.

“In ad­di­tion, most peo­ple, even hard­ened smok­ers, recog­nise that it is harm­ful and the third rea­son is the in­crease of NHS Stop Smok­ing ser­vices.”

Mr MacGre­gor praised the work of health of­fi­cials, char­i­ties and the lo­cal au­thor­ity in the bor­ough for the fall in the num­ber of smok­ers.

“They are all do­ing some­thing right and their com­bined ef­forts have proven to be very suc­cess­ful.

“Ev­ery part of the coun­try is dif­fer­ent but Wok­ing­ham seems to be do­ing some­thing that could per­haps be copied else­where.”

Philip Mor­ris In­ter­na­tional is a one of the big­gest to­bacco com­pa­nies in the world and is see­ing its mar­ket change: while it is en­gaged in the man­u­fac­ture and sale of cig­a­rettes, it is in­tro­duc­ing other ni­co­tine-con­tain­ing prod­ucts in mar­kets.

Mark MacGre­gor added: “Our busi­ness is com­mit­ted to go­ing smoke free as fast as pos­si­ble and ul­ti­mately stop­ping sell­ing cig­a­rettes al­to­gether.

“What this re­search re­veals is the huge variations in the de­cline in smok­ing in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try.

“We are keen to play our part in work­ing with lo­cal busi­nesses, re­tail­ers and lo­cal coun­cils in the ar­eas with high­est smok­ing rates.

“There are more al­ter­na­tive op­tions than ever be­fore that can help smok­ers to give up cig­a­rettes for good.”

Va­p­ing is one of the rea­sons why the bor­ough is ex­pected to give up cig­a­rette smok­ing in just eight years’ time ac­cord­ing to new re­search

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