HEALTH professionals, community organisations and councillors in North-East Lincolnshire are to meet this week to discuss ways of reducing one of the worst smoking rates in the country.
An estimated 37,000 adult smokers in the borough smoke around half a million cigarettes every day, which is prompting calls for urgent action to tackle a public health time bomb.
The tobacco control alliance co-ordinator for Care Trust Plus and North East Lincolnshire Council, Trevor Parkin, said: “Our area has one of the highest smoking rates in the country and in some of our least affluent wards, almost half of adults smoke.
“If the statistics stay the way they are at the moment, as many as one in seven of all adults living in North-East Lincolnshire will die from a smoking-related illness and that increases to almost one in four adults in some wards.
“Many smokers are losing up to 16 years of life due to smoking.”
He added: “Despite all of the health messages, far too many young people, particularly girls, are taking up smoking and almost one in four women in the area smoke during pregnancy which is putting at risk both their health and that of their unborn child.
“We know, however, that two out of three smokers say that they want to quit and we need to find more ways of supporting them to do this.”
Delegates will attend an event at Grimsby Town Hall on Friday called Smoking – A Burning Need for Action. The deputy council leader and portfolio holder for health and well-being, Coun Mick Burnett, said: “It is a priority for North East Lincolnshire Council to improve the health and well-being of everyone and reducing smoking among our citizens is key to this.
“Local admissions to hospital and deaths from smoking-related diseases are between 30 and 50 per cent higher than the national average. I look forward to hearing about what are doing to tackle this problem.”