Smoking rate has dropped in the East Riding

The number of smokers in the East Riding has dropped.
The number of smokers in the East Riding has dropped.

Cigarettes are becoming a rarer sight in the East Riding, as smoking rates have dropped in recent years, figures show.

Public Health England says the habit is in terminal decline and that a smoke-free generation is in sight.

But campaign group Action on Smoking and Health has called on the Government to impose a “polluter pays” levy on the tobacco industry to help end smoking by 2035.

The latest Office for National Statistics data shows that 12.8% of people aged 18 and over in the East Riding were smokers last year.

The rate has fallen since 2012, the first year local data was collected, when it stood at 16.6%.

Of the non-smokers in the East Riding, 31.7% had kicked the habit and 55.5% had never lit up.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, called on the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock to include a pledge to end smoking by 2035 in the coming Prevention Green Paper.

The document will set out how the Government plans to put prevention at the heart of public health care.

She said: “Ending smoking by 2035 is a worthy ambition for the Prevention Green Paper.

“To do so would make the single most significant contribution to delivering the Government’s goal of five extra healthy years of life, while narrowing health inequalities between the richest and poorest.

“However, to achieve the end of smoking will require innovative new policies and funding – business as usual will not suffice.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said it had taken bold action to reduce smoking rates, including the introduction of standardised packaging for cigarettes, making it illegal to smoke in a car with a child, and covering up tobacco products in shops.