CAMPAIGNERS and health chiefs are calling on smokers to wake up to the realities of their lethal habit after it emerged one in 10 people in Swindon would die from smoking-related diseases.
Latest figures from Public Health England show that an alarming 10.75 per cent of the current population, or 22,542 people, would die as a result of developing heart problems, cancer or suffering a stroke – all of this brought on by smoking.
The statistics also reveal that 1,408 per 100,000 people were hospitalised as a direct result of smoking between 2010 and 2012.
While hospital admissions remain below the national average of 1,420, they are significantly higher than those for the South West, which stand at 1,326 or the 1,061 reported in Wiltshire.
And the impact can be as detrimental to smokers’ health as it is devastating for their families.
As a former 20-a-day smoker Mark England is very much aware how easy ignoring statistics or the long-term implications of smoking is.
But the 41-year-old, who gave up for good in October 2013 after his daughter Siobhan told him she feared he would die, encouraged smokers to look at the bigger picture and think about loved ones.
“You don’t think about the long term when you smoke, you never do,” said the administrator, from Eldene.
“You don’t tend to believe the figures or ignore them and they have no impact on you, that’s the problem. You don’t give it any thought at the time but afterwards, when you look at them, you think you’ve been lucky to have stopped in time.
“If you have got a dependent or people who want to keep you around, then that’s what you have to think about.”
He added: “Just not being a slave to it has been is the best part of quitting for me. It doesn’t rule my life anymore. “I used to think about when I was going to have my next cigarette all the time.”
Smoking in the area and regular hospital admissions cost each Swindon taxpayer £32.40.
Cherry Jones, acting director of public health at Swindon Council, said: “Smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable disease and premature death in the UK and Swindon is no exception, in fact our figures are slightly above the national average.
“These stark figures are unfortunately no surprise and reducing the number of people in Swindon who smoke is a priority for us and NHS services here in the borough. “One in five adults still smoke in Swindon and it is a sad fact that this habit will claim the life of one in every two smokers, as recently highlighted in the Be There Tomorrow campaign which urged people to quit and be there longer for loved ones.
“Although smoking rates have declined over recent years, too many people still smoke, and we urge anyone thinking about quitting to seek advice and support from their GP, pharmacy or the Swindon Stop Smoking Service.”
l For advice on quitting call 0800 3892229 or SEQOL’s direct line 01793 465513, text 07881281797, or email firstname.lastname@example.org