Smoking is on the decline in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge, according to latest figures.
Office for National Statistics [ONS] data shows that there are around 3,000 fewer people lighting up in both towns than in 2011 – a fall of around 4 per cent.
Charity Action on Smoking and Health [ASH] publicised the data last week which found overall smoking rates in 2017 were at a record low percentage of 14.9 per cent.
This is down from 19.3 per cent in 2013 but Debroah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said there was ‘no room for complacency’ in their efforts.
‘Smoking must become history for all of society not just for the wealthy,’ she said.
‘Cuts in public health funding and lack of treatment for smoking on the NHS mean poorer more heavily addicted smokers, including those who are pregnant, are not getting the help they need to quit.’
For 2017 there was a higher number of people smoking in Tunbridge Wells borough [13,591] than in Tonbridge & Malling [11,353].
But these figures are comfortably lower than they were in 2011, when the ONS found there were 17,214 smokers in Tunbridge Wells borough and 13,290 in Tonbridge & Malling.
Kent County Council’s Director of Health Andrew Scott-Clark welcomed the news.
He told the Times: ‘We are pleased that the number of people smoking is reducing in parts of Kent.
‘A number of strategies have contributed to this, including the introduction of plain packaging, de-normalisation of smoking, smokefree areas, the increased use of e-cigarettes and support services to help people quit.
‘However, smoking remains one of the major causes of preventable death so quitting really is the best thing a smoker can do for their health and for the health of their families too.
‘There is also evidence showing that changing from cigarettes and tobacco to vaping e-cigarettes poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and people need to realise that switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial health benefits.’