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Smoking figures reveals areas with biggest increase in smokers

October 4, 2023


With 1st October marking the start of the national quit smoking campaign, Stoptober, a new study has revealed the areas of the UK that have seen the biggest increase and decrease in smokers.

Online vape store Go Smoke Free analysed ONS data between 2018 and 2021 to find which areas of the UK have seen the largest change in the reported number of smokers.

Wychavon, Worcestershire was found to have the largest increase in smokers, up by a staggering 130.88 per cent since 2018 – an increase of approximately 12,238 people taking up smoking. It is estimated that 15.7 per cent of the entire population of Wychavon are currently smokers, roughly 20,897 people.

Second place goes to Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire, which has observed an increase of 127.78 per cent between 2018 and 2021, which works out to an increase of 5,558 new smokers. Despite the smaller population, it was estimated that 8.2 per cent of Rushcliffe’s population are smokers, according to 2021 figures.

Chorley, Lancashire, takes the third spot on the list, with a 120 per cent increase in smokers between 2018 and 2021, an increase of roughly 11,411 people. In total, approximately 17.6 per cent of the population of Chorley were smokers.

Still in Lancashire, Ribble Valley takes the fourth spot on the list, seeing the number of smokers increase by 114.46 per cent, or roughly 6,034 people.

Fifth place goes to Brentwood, Essex, with a 107.35 per cent increase in smokers between 2018 and 2021 – equivalent to approximately 5,667 additional residents identifying as smokers.

The remainder of the top ten features Broadland, Norfolk, in at sixth place, which saw an increase of 101.35 per cent, while Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire, takes the seventh spot, observing an increase of 88.24 per cent.

Dover, Kent ranks in at eighth with an increase of 78.63 per cent from 2018 to 2021. Interestingly, Dover had the highest proportion of smokers in 2021 out of any top ten entry, with smokers making up 23.4 per cent of its total population.

In ninth place is Erewash, Derbyshire, which saw an increase in smokers between 2018 to 2021 of 69.09 per cent.

Rounding out the list in tenth place is Warwick, Warwickshire, seeing an increase in smokers of 62.63 per cent from 2018 to 2021

West Hams, Devon, saw the largest overall decrease in the number of smokers, with figures showing that between 2018 and 2021, there was a decrease of approximately 10,366 smokers – equal to a 70 per cent decrease overall.

“Although there has been a 6.19 per cent decline in smokers between 2018 and 2021 across the UK, there a still a several areas that are reporting an uptake in people identifying as smokers,” a spokesperson for Go Smoke Free commented.

“With 1st October marking the start of Stoptober throughout the UK, these regional differences in smoking prevalence underscore the importance of continued research and awareness campaigns to address these differences effectively.”