Almost a quarter of people in Hartlepool are smokers – giving the town the seventh-highest adult smoking rate in the country.
Smoking data published by Public Health England has revealed that 23.4% of adults in Hartlepool regularly smoke.
We recognise that there is still much more to be doneMartyn Willmore
That makes it the smoking capital of the North East, with only six areas in the country having a higher figure. Blackpool is top of the list with 26.9%.
The average figure for the North East is 19.9%, compared with 18% nationally, but the data for the region has improved over the last year.
Martyn Willmore, performance improvement delivery manager for Fresh, the North East regional tobacco control programme, said: “We welcome the latest smoking prevalence data, which shows that the North East as a region has seen the biggest drop in smoking rates over the last 12 months, and indeed over the last decade.
“For the first time, we now have fewer than one in five adults smoking across our region. However, with over 415,000 current North East smokers still addicted to this lethal product, we recognise that there is still much more to be done.
“By working together as 12 North East local authorities to tackle the harm from smoking, we have made great progress and given the North East a prominent voice nationally in calling for further steps to reduce smoking rates.
“At the same time, we must continue to protect the excellent local work that is being done around issues such as tackling the illegal trade in tobacco, and providing evidence-based support those who want to quit.”
Claire Sullivan, deputy director for health and wellbeing at Public Health England North East, said: “Nationally smoking rates are the lowest on record, but there remain vast differences between parts of the country, with the harm from smoking hitting hardest in our most deprived communities.
“These profiles are designed to help local areas understand the issues and make the best decisions to help improve the health of their population.
“We should be doing all we can to help smokers to quit for good.”