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  • In Gateshead in 2016, the prevalence of smoking in adults was 17.9% [Chart - Smoking prevalence]. This is significantly worse than the England average of 15.5%. [1] Indicatively (because of large confidence intervals), the overall direction of travel is down.Smoking prevalence
  • Smoking prevalence remains high in routine and manual occupation socio-economic groups at 31.0%. The England average is similarly high at 26.5% [Chart - Smoking prevalence in routine and manual occupations]. [2]
  • 41.7% of adults with a serious mental illness in Gateshead are smokers which is similar to the national average [Chart - Smoking prevalence in adults with serious mental illness (SMI)]. [3]
  • A local survey conducted in 2016 (Adult Health and Lifestyle Survey) found that young people are more likely to smoke than older people aged 65+ by 9 percentage points. The survey also found that people who live in the most deprived areas are more likely to smoke, with a gap of 11 percentage points between the most and least deprived areas. [4] This is in line with recent national data which also shows a significant variation in smoking between deprivation bands.
  • Our previous local 'lifestyle survey' from 2012 had shown that there were significant variations in smoking rates across wards in Gateshead. For example, wards with lower levels of deprivation - Whickham South & Sunniside and Ryton, Crookhill & Stella both had the lowest prevalence at 10.4%, compared with High Fell (34.8%), Dunston and Teams (32.0%) and Felling (28.4%) - wards with higher levels of deprivation. [5]
  • At delivery, 14.5% of all women giving birth were known to smoke. This is significantly higher than the England average of 10.7%, and a slight increase on the previous year when the rate was 13.3% [Chart - Smoking in pregnancy]. [6]
  • One of the complications associated with smoking during pregnancy is the potential for having a baby with a low birth weight (below 2,500g). A low birth weight increases the risk of childhood mortality and of developmental problems for the child and is associated with poorer health in later life. In Gateshead, 3.0% of babies (live births) had a low birth weight in 2015, compared with 2.8% for England as a whole [Chart - Low birth weight babies (live births)] [7]. The wards with the highest proportion of low birth weight babies (live and still births) are Blaydon, Deckham, and Winlaton & High Spen. [Map - Ward low birth weight babies (live and still births)]. [8]
  • Smoking is a major risk factor associated with both infant mortality and stillbirth. Gateshead reflects the national downward trend for both neonatal deaths (within 28 days of birth) [Chart - Neonatal mortality] and stillbirth [Chart - Stillbirth]. [9]
  • In 2012, 74% of secondary school pupils aged 12-15 years reported that they had never smoked. This proportion has increased considerably from 42% in 2004, 54% in 2008, and 61% in 2010. However, smoking appears to be more common among children in Gateshead than in England overall, particularly among girls aged 14-15 years with 21% reporting that they smoke occasionally or regularly (compared to 8% of boys). [10]
  • In the 2014/15 ‘What About YOUth’ (WAY) survey, 9.8% of 15 year olds in Gateshead reported smoking regularly, with a further 2.6% smoking occasionally. The combined figure of 12.4% is the highest rate in the North East and is significantly higher than the England average of 8.2% [Chart - Current smokers aged 15]. Gateshead’s rate is also significantly higher than six of the fifteen local authorities in Gateshead’s CIPFA nearest neighbour group [Chart - Current smokers aged 15 (CIPFA nearest neighbours)]. [11]
  • The 2014/15 ‘What About YOUth’ (WAY) survey also reported that one in five (19.9%) 15 year olds in Gateshead have tried e-cigarettes, which is similar to the England average of 18.4% [Chart – 15 year olds who have tried e-cigarettes]. Gateshead’s rate is significantly lower than six of the fifteen local authorities in its CIPFA nearest neighbour group [Chart – Current e-cigarette smokers age 15 (CIPFA nearest neighbours)] [12].
  • There was a decrease in the number of people engaging with NHS Stop Smoking services between 2013/14 and 2015/16 which is in line with the national trend and anecdotally reflects the increased use of over the counter nicotine replacement products e.g. e-cigarettes. Local survey data found that 50% of Gateshead smokers are thinking about or actively trying to stop smoking. This is particularly evident in young people aged under 35 at 64% compared with 9% of those aged 65+. The survey also found that 53% of e-cigarette users are doing so to help them stop smoking cigarettes completely and 24% to reduce the amount they smoke. 36% said they used e-cigarettes to reduce harm to themselves from smoking and 20% to avoid harming others around them. 30% said they just wanted to give e-cigarettes a try and 25% wanted to save money compared with smoking. [4]
  • However, Gateshead remains above the national average in terms of quit dates set with 6,407 per 100,000 compared with the national average of 4,434 [Chart - Smokers setting a quit date]. [12] A 2015 report by Public Health England on Electronic Cigarettes shows that 1 in 20 adults in England use e-cigarettes. The report found that current e-cigarette users are almost exclusively smokers (~60%) or ex-smokers (~40%). Current e-cigarette use among never smokers is very low, estimated to be 0.2%.
  • Similar to the trend for smokers setting a quit date, the number of successful quitters at 4 weeks (validated by a Carbon Monoxide (CO) reading) has fallen, although Gateshead remains higher than the national average at 2,623 per 100,000 compared with 1,627 in England as a whole [Chart - Successful quitters (CO validated) at 4 weeks]. [12]
  • In 2013-15, Gateshead’s directly age standardised mortality rate for deaths attributable to smoking in 35+ year olds was 385.9 per 100,000 population which is statistically significantly higher than the England rate of 283.5 per 100,000 [Chart - Smoking attributable mortality]. This means that Gateshead's rate is 36% higher than the England average. [13]
  • There are four key illnesses and conditions that lead to smoking related deaths; lung cancer, chronic obstuctive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and stroke.
  • The biggest killer is lung cancer, which in 2014-16 killed 533 Gateshead people. Generally the trend in the death rate has been flat over the last 15 years, however, the current data indicates there may be the start of a downward trend as the rate per 100,000 (DSR) has reduced from 101.5 in 2012-14 to 90.6 in 2013-15 and 91.1 in 2014-16 [Chart - Deaths from lung cancer]. [14]
  • See also: Deaths from COPD
  • Between 2014 and 2016 there were 132 smoking attributable deaths from heart disease. The general trend is downwards, although it has been quite static in recent years. [Chart - Smoking attributable deaths from heart disease]. [15]
  • The Gateshead rate of smoking attributable deaths from stroke remains above the England average. Gateshead has been significantly worse than the England average for several year now and had a rate of 12.5 deaths compared with 8.8 per 100,000 (DSR) in England [Chart - Smoking attributable deaths from stroke]. [16]
  • Gateshead’s smoking attributable hospital admissions rate of 2,784 per 100,000 was also significantly higher than the national rate of 1,726 per 100,000 [Chart - Smoking attributable hospital admissions]. [17]
  • See also 'Health and Lifestyle Survey 2016' ; 'Lifestyle Behaviours Survey 2012' ; 'Local Tobacco Control Profiles' ; 'Tobacco: A Smoking Gun - Gateshead DPH Annual Report 2015/16'

    [1] Adult smoking prevalence, Annual Population Survey, ONS, 2015 (PHOF website)

    [2] Smoking prevalence in routine and manual occupations, Annual Population Survey, ONS, 2016 (PHOF website)

    [3] Smoking prevalence in adults with SMI, NHS Digital GP Extraction Service (GPES), 2014/15 (Local Tobacco Control Profiles website)

    [4] Health and Lifestyle Survey, Gateshead Council, 2016

    [5] Lifestyle Behaviours Survey, NHS SoTW, 2012

    [6] Smoking Status At Time Of Delivery, NHS Digital, 2016/17 (PHOF website)

    [7] ONS Births, 2015 (Local Tobacco Control Profiles website)

    [8] ONS Births, 2010-14 (Local Health website)

    [9] Neonatal mortality and Stillbirth, ONS, 2013-15 (Local Tobacco Control Profiles website)

    [10] Gateshead Schools Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire, 2012

    [11] What About YOUth? Survey, HSCIC, 2014/15 (Young People website)

    [12] Smokers setting a quit date and successful 4 week quitters (CO validated), NHS Digital Stop Smoking Services Data, 2016/17 (Local Tobacco Control Profiles website)

    [13] Smoking attributable mortality, PHE HES, 2013-15 (Local Tobacco Control Profiles website)

    [14] Deaths from lung cancer, PHE 2014-16 (Local Tobacco Control Profiles website)

    [15] Deaths from smoking attributable heart disease, ONS Integrated Household Survey, relative risks and MYE 2014-16 (Local Tobacco Control Profiles website)

    [16] Smoking attributable deaths from stroke, ONS Integrated Household Survey, relative risks and MYE 2014-16 (Local Tobacco Control Profiles website)

    [17] Smoking attributable hospital admissions, PHE HES, 2015/16 (Local Tobacco Control Profiles website)