Nearly 570 children in the UK will start smoking during World No Tobacco Day – the annual event to encourage people to quit.
Tomorrow’s 567 new young smokers* will add to the estimated 138,000 regular smokers across the country aged 11 to 15.
In Surrey alone, around 4,200 young people aged 11 to 15 smoke regularly – about 6% – together with more than one in seven adults.
Surrey’s figures are contained in Director of Public Health Helen Atkinson’s annual report, which also focuses on tackling lack of physical activity, poor diet and alcohol.
Helen Atkinson said: “Stopping smoking at any age cuts the health risks and the earlier you quit the better. The best option for a healthy lifestyle is not lighting up in the first place. Smokers are four times more likely to quit with professional support.”
Surrey’s report also highlights:
- Almost 640 lives would be saved if everyone did the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise every week
- Around 1,700 or 6% of reception year pupils – children aged four – are classed obese
- The number of people admitted to hospital with alcohol related illnesses has more than doubled in a decade and more than 200,000 adults drink more than the recommended safe limit.
Helen Atkinson added: “By working together to focus on preventing illnesses, the council, the NHS and community groups can really make a difference to people’s health and slow the increasing demand on all our services.”
More information about drinking responsibly and quitting cigarettes can be found at www.healthysurrey.org.uk. Alternatively call the Surrey stop smoking service on 0845 602 3608.
* Cancer Research UK figure.