SMOKING in an East Lancashire borough has fallen by more than a third in 10 years new figures show.

Data published by Public Health England has shown a steady reduction in smoking rates in Blackburn with Darwen since 2011.

The number of adults who smoke in the borough has dropped from 29,498 - 27.1 per cent of the population - to 17,197 or 15.5 per cent.

The borough’s quit rate is now similar to the North-West and England's.

The news comes as Blackburn with Darwen Council launches special support for the annual mass participation stop smoking campaign 'Stoptober'.

Blackburn with Darwen Council public health staff will be carrying out targeted engagement in workplaces and services including Inspire/CGL, Blackburn College, Blackburn Rovers and Audley Neighbourhood Learning Centre.

They will also be helping to support a new targeted lung health check programme taking place.

People aged over 55 years old but less than 75 years old who have ever smoked will be invited to come for a free lung check at Ewood Park.

Clr Damian Talbot, the council's public health boss, said: "These statistics showing a decline in smokers locally are encouraging and I’m delighted to see many people have been successful in their attempts to quit. Stopping smoking is vitally important to improving health and wellbeing, life expectancy and reducing hospital admissions.

"There is a way to go though.

"Throughout our local activity during Stoptober we want people to know there is help and support available locally through pharmacies and our Wellbeing Service."