Nationally smoking rates for the adult population have stagnated at a rate of 1 in 5 since 2012. The picture is more encouraging for young people (11-15) where there has been a continued decline in those who have tried smoking from a rate of 42% in 2003 to the most recent estimate of 20% in 2013.
Work locally through the Tobacco Control Alliance has focussed on the role of formal support in lowering prevalence rates and the rise of e-Cigarette use.
Smoking in pregnancy
Whilst data on smoking in pregnancy often underestimates rates, locally it suggests that 12% of women in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole were recorded to be smoking at the time of delivery in 2013/14 . Local data from Bournemouth and Poole shows that a higher percentage of mothers from deprived areas smoke at the time that they book with a midwife early in pregnancy. National data shows that these inequalities remain at the time of delivery.
Smoking and young people
Smoking among young people has been in long-term decline since the mid-1990s but a clear association with social disadvantage remains. Not only are children in the lowest social groups more likely to grow up exposed to second hand smoke but they are also more likely to become smokers themselves, start smoking at an earlier age and smoke more cigarettes per day. About two-thirds of adult smokers report they took up smoking before the age of 18, and almost two-fifths started smoking regularly before the age of 16. Public Health England estimates that Bournemouth has high rates of 15 year olds who are regular smokers (10.6%). Dorset (9.8%) and Poole’s (9.4%) estimated rates were also above England’s (8.7%). These results have been validated by local survey data in Poole.
Exposure to second hand smoke
The Royal College of Physicians recognise that passive smoking in the home is a major hazard to the health of children. Nationally, 9,500 children are admitted to hospital each year as a direct result of exposure to second hand cigarette smoke (passive smoking). Babies born to mothers from deprived backgrounds are more likely to be exposed to second hand smoke in childhood. Children growing up with parents or others in the household who are regular or occasional smokers are up to three times more likely to start smoking themselves, further increasing their risk of future problems.