Deaths from smoking three times higher in Northern towns

Wednesday 27 October 2010

According to new data from the Association of Public Health Observatories, people who live in northern towns such as Manchester are more likely to die from smoking related disease than those who live in the South, and three times more likely to die from smoking related illnesses than parts of the rural South such as Dorset. The Health Observatories have developed a tool which will help local authorities and Primary Care Trusts to identify areas where smoking prevalence is highest so that they can tailor local health plans accordingly.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH said:

“There is a big health divide between the north and the south but the gap becomes even bigger for smoking in pregnancy where there is a nine fold difference between Blackpool , where 1 in 3 pregnant women smoke, and Richmond upon Thames where the rate is just 1 in 25.
“The Government have promised a public health strategy by the end of the year and a health premium for the most disadvantaged areas. This new data makes it abundantly clear that if Andrew Lansley is serious about public health he needs a robust programme of action to tackle smoking in particular, especially in our most disadvantaged communities.”


Smoking is the biggest preventable killer in the UK and causes half the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest. Two thirds of smokers say they want to quit and poor smokers are just as likely to try to quit as richer ones but they are much less likely to succeed.

Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, cot death and other serious health problems. Children born to women who smoked during pregnancy have an increased risk of developing respiratory disorders such as asthma and there is some evidence linking maternal smoking to ADHD and other behavioural disorders in children.
Local Tobacco Control Profiles for England are an accessible web-based tool. They will be available from 00.01 on 27 October 2010 at: They bring together a set of indicators at both local authority and primary care trust level that are specific to tobacco, and tailored to the needs of local users; they are outcome-focussed and relevant to the major modern challenges of tobacco control in England. Further information on how the indicators were derived can be found on the web based tool. Journalists can get early access to a demonstration site at Further information on findings within specific regions can be found on regional public health observatory websites:

The APHO press release is available at