NEW statistics show smoking rates in Blackburn with Darwen have fallen significantly since 2016.

Issued by Public Health England, figures show the amount of adult smokers in Blackburn with Darwen dropped from 19.5 per cent (21,472) to 16.2 per cent (17,893) in 2018.

The total cost of smoking stands at £32.5m with the average person spending £2,050 on tobacco products every year.

Pharmacies offer personalised support to help people stop smoking for good. This includes access to one-to-one behavioural support with a trained stop smoking advisor and a supply of nicotine replacement therapy.

Partners including Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackburn with Darwen CCG have also worked together to deliver local Tobacco Control Policy and worked on initiatives around smokefree homes, cars and outdoor spaces.

The council has also formed a tobacco alliance ­— a newly-formed group that aims to share information, learning and contributing to raising the profile of tobacco control with the aim of reducing smoking.

It has also been vocal in its support for plain tobacco packaging, which came into force in 2016 and national campaigns like Stoptober, taking place this month.

Cllr Damian Talbot, executive member for public health and wellbeing, said: “These stats are encouraging and I’m delighted to see so many people have been successful in their at attempts to quit. Stopping smoking is vitally important to improving health and wellbeing, improving life expectancy and reducing hospital admissions.

“There is a way to go, smoking still costs the borough millions in terms of health care, productivity, social care and littering of tobacco waste creates over 21kg but all progress is welcome.

“During Stoptober we want people to know there is help and support available locally through pharmacies that will give people a good chance of breaking away from their addictions and starting to feel the health and financial benefits of becoming smokefree.”

Dr Stuart Berry, GP Clinical Lead for respiratory conditions across Pennine Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said: “Stopping smoking is likely to be the biggest thing that a person can do to improve their health and reduce their chance of more serious health problems. Please make this October your Stoptober – and better still, why not get some of your friends and family involved as well. Celebrate each day that is smoke free.”

For help to quit smoking contact your local pharmacy or GP surgery.