NEW analysis released by Cancer Research UK on World No Tobacco Day (31
May) estimates that tobacco causes the death of one person
in the North West every 40 minutes.*
The rate of people dying from tobacco in the region is higher than the England average.
Smoking remains the biggest cause of death in the North West and it’s estimated it’s responsible for around 7,300 cancer deaths each year. That’s around a third (32%) of all
cancer deaths in the region.**
To mark World No Tobacco Day, Cancer Research UK is urging people to sign a petition as part of its Smokefree UK campaign which calls for more support from Government to help rapidly reduce smoking rates.
The charity warns that for each day ministers fail to stub out smoking hundreds of lives will be needlessly lost nationwide.
A poster appeal in aid of the initiative can be seen in all 600 Cancer Research UK shops in the
North West and across the UK. People can show their support by scanning a QR code in shop windows or signing the petition
It comes as successive funding cuts continue to undermine local authorities’ efforts to tackle the deadly addiction. Stop smoking services are proven to give people who smoke
the best chance of quitting, but these aren’t universally available and public health campaigns continue to be axed.
That’s why the charity is urging the Prime Minister to establish a ‘Smokefree Fund’ to pay for interventions like these that will help drive down smoking rates, as well as alleviate pressures on local authorities and NHS waiting lists. In England alone, one person is admitted to hospital every minute due to smoking.***
There are also huge economic benefits to be had as smoking costs the UK public purse around £20.6 billion per year.****
Investment in tobacco control could happen at no cost to the taxpayer if the UK Government made the tobacco industry foot the bill for the damage it causes. The recently announced
levy on the gambling industry provides a precedent for this. And most importantly, polling has revealed there is already public support for a similar levy on tobacco.*****
Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North West, Jane Bullock, said: “Smoking causes around 150 cases of cancer a day across the UK****** and in the North West 14.4% of people still smoke.******* This is above the national average.
“Smoke-filled pubs, colourful cigarette packets and cigarette vending machines are all now things of the past. But from these shocking figures, it’s clear the distressing toll of tobacco is not – and that’s why we need the help of people across the region to make smoking history.
“Enough is enough. Most people who smoke want to quit, but they need more support. So, the UK Government must urgently deliver the funding needed to tackle the number one cause of death in the North West.
“Many of us know friends and family whose lives are at risk, or have lost loved ones to smoking, so we hope that as many supporters as possible will sign our vital petition to the Prime Minister. In a world without cancers caused by smoking, we can make more moments that matter and help people live longer, healthier lives, free from the fear of this devasting disease.”
In April this year, the UK Government responded to the Dr Javed Khan Independent Review of Smoking. Cancer Research UK has branded the response “insufficient” – highlighting
that 17,100 lives have already been lost to tobacco across the UK, since the announcement. Over 7,600 of these were due to cancer alone.********
While the tobacco control measures announced were welcome, these did not go nearly far enough to reach ministers’ target for England to be ‘smokefree’ by 2030 – defined as less than 5% of the adult population smoking.
The charity’s modelling shows that smoking rates need to drop a staggering 70% faster than currently projected for this to happen.********* To help protect the next generation from a future of ill-health and disease, it also wants the UK Government to consult on raising the age of sale of tobacco.