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Ashford halves its smoking rate in one year

Last updated 31 July 2020

Ashford has seen a dramatic reduction in its smoking rate from 21.5% in 2018 to 10.1% in 2019. This equates to an estimated 10,027 smokers in Ashford (11,000 fewer than the previous year).

It is expected that this figure will reduce further as more smokers seek to quit following Government guidance that they may be at risk of more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Wider figures have shown a downward trend as Kent went from 15% in 2018 to 13.7% in 2019 and England from 14.4% in 2018 to 13.9% in 2019, however Ashford has seen one of the biggest drops.

Since Ashford opened its One You shop in Park Mall there have been 1,690 smoking related interventions, clinics and advice, contributing to support from GPs, the Youth Service and the national Smokefree support service.

As a major risk factor for many diseases (including cancer and heart disease) smoking is the most important cause of preventable ill health and premature mortality in the UK.

Cllr Peter Feacey Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing, said: “It is testament to the hard work of our public health colleagues and those at our One You shop that so many people have taken the support and encouragement needed to quit smoking”

“The fact that the number of smokers in Ashford has halved in one year is a remarkable achievement and one that will save many lives, improving the overall health of our borough.”

KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “We are really encouraged by the figures for Ashford and are pleased at how well the One You shop in the town has offered people a chance to pop in as part of their shopping trip and get support and advice on a range of health issues including quitting smoking.

“GPs have also been instrumental in helping smokers to quit by prescribing the right NRT products or medication to support them giving up. Although the COVID-19 lockdown has proved a challenge, people can still access help online and by phone so we’d also encourage smokers to go to www.oneyoukent.org.uk for more information on all the support available to them.”

If you would like to quit here’s where you can go to get help:

One You: www.oneyoukent.org.uk

Kent Smokefree: www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/health/one-you-kent/quit-smoking

NHS Smokefree: www.nhs.uk/smokefree

Alternatively, ring 0300 123 1220 or text ‘QUIT’ to 87023.