Levels of smoking in Norfolk and Suffolk at their lowest in seven years
- Credit: PA
Fewer young adults in Norfolk and Suffolk are smoking, choosing to not to take up the habit and potentially becoming the first smoke free generation.
Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that across the two counties the total number of smokers has decreased while the percentage of people who have never smoked has increased. Between 2011 and 2017 the number of smokers in Norfolk fell by 13.4pc while in Suffolk the same figure decreased by 15pc.
The number of people who have never smoked increased by an average of 35pc in Norfolk while in Suffolk, the same figure increased by 28pc.
The age group with the biggest drop in smoking is young adults.
Last year, across Britain, 17.8pc of 18 to 24-year-olds said they were current smokers, compared with 2011 when more than a quarter smoked.
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The decrease in the number of young adults smoking is being put down to a range of factors including the 2015 ban on tobacco advertising and promotion and the rise of e-cigarettes. The ONS estimates there are 2.8 million vapers in Britain, and almost half said their reason for taking it up was to stop smoking.
The areas of Norfolk which reported the highest percentage of people who have never smoked was King's Lynn and West Norfolk with 51pc, closely followed by 43pc in Norwich. In Suffolk the highest percentage of the population who said they had never smoked was on the coast.
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Commenting on the decline of smokers in Norfolk, Smokefree Norfolk team leader Linda Robinson said: 'We're really pleased at this good news. We believe the key is making it as simple as possible to access support.
Our Smokefree Norfolk service is a specialist service delivering clinics across the county and we're only one part of the story - we work with pharmacies, GP's and other professionals to make support for those who want to give up smoking as accessible as possible. We think making it simple is the answer.'
Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, said: 'The data shows we are winning the war on tobacco and that we are tantalisingly close to creating the first-ever smoke-free generation in England.'