Cancer Focus NI responds to NI Smoking Audit

The Northern Ireland Audit Office released a report today on the public health impacts of smoking and vaping. Responding to the report, Cancer Focus NI Chief Executive Richard Spratt comments:

“We welcome the audit into public health impacts of smoking and vaping undertaken by the Northern Ireland Audit Office. The report makes clear what we already know: smoking takes lives, causes disease, and adds strain to our health services.

“The report also confirms that smoking is a health inequality. In the most deprived quintile, a startling 1 in 4 people smoke, compared to only 1 in 15 in the least deprived quintile. It follows then that smoking related deaths are 98% higher in the most deprived as compared to the least deprived areas, with lung cancer deaths in particular 151% higher.

“While we still have a lot of work to do, we celebrate the progress toward a smokefree society that has been achieved: our community has 10% fewer smokers now than it did fourteen years ago. Our goal is to get to a 5% population smoking rate by 2035. To do this, we need smoking prevention programmes, accessible stop-smoking services, and appropriate legislations. As such, we support the report’s call for a new tobacco control strategy to address these and other emerging issues relating to smoking and vaping. In particular, we commend the calls to expand stop smoking services to hard-to-reach and socially disadvantaged areas and to enhance preventative measures. The fewer people start smoking, the fewer lives we endanger and the fewer smoking-related healthcare costs we incur.”

Read the charity’s key messages for a Smokefree Northern Ireland here and learn more about and sign up for the charity’s stop smoking services here.