Lowest number of children taking up smoking on record in Derby

Published: 28 July 2020

Smoker snapping cigarette

A new analysis finds that 1106 more children would start smoking in Derby every year if children were still smoking at 1990s levels when around 1 in 5 under 16s smoked. Since then national rates have dropped to around 1 in 20.

Rates of smoking have fallen among children for many reasons including the increasingly tough regulation of tobacco introduced over the last two decades. However, an important factor in children taking up smoking is whether their parents smoke and falling rates of adult smoking have been and important driver for change. And while smoking rates have fallen, it is currently estimated that 613 children start smoking each year in Derby and two thirds of those experimenting with smoking go on to become daily smokers.

That is why Derby City Council is reaching out to parents and those thinking of becoming parents with the message that today is the day to quit.

Locally the Department of Health and Social Care is currently funding a marketing campaign to encourage more smokers to quit. It is a message from a respiratory doctor calling on smokers not to delay and make a quit attempt today. The advert can be accessed online.

Cllr Roy Webb, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Housing said:

It is tremendous to see the drop in the numbers of children taking up smoking locally but we want to get that number down to zero and that means helping more parents who smoke to stop. Most parents know they need to protect their children from the harms of secondhand smoke but many will not realise the influence their smoking can have over their child’s habits in the future. We’re saying to parents that today is the day. We all want to live healthier lives right now and for smokers there is no better place to start than joining the Council’s free Livewell service to get support and treatments to quit for good.

Mum of three, Katrinea Overton used Livewell’s support and free Nicotine Replacement Therapy products to quit at the start of lockdown and is now celebrating three months smoke free.  The 36-year-old from Derby smoked for 24 years and quit to be a positive role model to her children.

She said:

Setting a good example for my children is really important to me and whilst I never smoked around them, I always felt a hypocrite telling them not to start smoking when I did it myself.

Livewell is available to help smokers on their quitting journey and while smokers may not be able to see trained advisors face to face at the moment they are able to access dedicated support over the phone and safe access to medications that help them succeed. The service also offers specialist support for pregnant smokers and their partners to quit together.  Find out more on the website.

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