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    Richmond upon Thames leads UK councils on track to achieve smoke-free status 

    Photo: iStock

    New data has revealed the UK area that is most progressive in its attempts to quit smoking, with Richmond Upon Thames taking the lead.   

    The study, conducted by online vape retailer  Go Smoke Free, analysed eight years’ worth of ONS data for all local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland. It determined the average reduction rate for the smoking population in each area. The research also used each area’s estimated ‘smoke-free’ year to determine a total score for each location.  

    Richmond Upon Thames emerged as the frontrunner, securing an impressive score of 99.9. Estimated to be smoke-free in less than two years, the location also shows an average smoking reduction rate of 4.7 per cent. In 2022, merely 6.4 per cent of the population identified as smokers, reflecting a substantial decline compared to the 11.8 per cent in 2015.   

    Despite a modest population of approximately 22,800, the Shetland Islands have exhibited notable progress, reporting a mere 9.1 per cent of its residents as smokers in 2022. This is 6.7 per cent less of the smoking population observed in 2015. Positioned to achieve a smoke-free status by 2026, this Scottish area secured a commendable second place with a score of 97.3.   

    Transitioning to the North West, Trafford claims the third position with an impressive score of 95.6. Notably, it boasts the highest reduction rate recorded so far, standing at 8.0 per cent, aver the period since 2015. However, despite this commendable progress, Trafford is projected to attain smoke-free status by 2028.   

    Moving down the list, Septon emerges with an impressive score of 94.9. Anticipated to achieve smoke-free status by 2028, the region demonstrates a commendable decline in its smoking population, registering a reduction rate of 6.9 per cent. With a substantial overall 44.8 per cent decrease in the number of smokers since 2015, they surpass the national average of 23 per cent by a significant margin.   

    Securing fifth place is Knowsley, boasting a score of 93.4. Matching Richmond Upon Thames, Knowsley exhibits a consistent reduction rate of 4.7 per cent. Despite initially being considered one of the largest smoking locations in 2015 at 21.4 per cent, the region has made substantial progress, currently standing at 14.8 per cent. Although this figure remains relatively high, projections indicate that it is positioned to achieve smoke-free status within the next five years.   

    Rounding out the top ten are Kingston upon Thames at 93.0, Hackney at 92.8, Bury at 92.6, Westminster at 92.3, and Vale of Glamorgan at 92.3.   

    “This research brings to light a remarkable shift in smoking trends across various UK locations. We see the nationwide push for a smoke-free generation, as highlighted by prime minister Rishi Sunak’s recent legislation,” a spokesperson for Go Smoke Free said.

    “Richmond upon Thames has emerged as a true trailblazer, showing the positive impact of targeted efforts on reducing smoking prevalence. Their remarkable example serves as a beacon for other UK areas, illustrating the path toward a healthier, smoke-free future for our nation.” 

    The Best Areas to Quit Smoking 

    Rank Local Authority Score 
              1         Richmond upon Thames         99.9 
              2         Shetland Islands         97.3 
              3         Trafford         95.6 
              4         Sefton         94.9 
              5         Knowsley         93.4 
              6         Kingston upon Thames         93.0 
              7         Hackney         92.8 
              8         Bury         92.6 
              9         Westminster         92.3 
              10         Vale of Glamorgan         92.3 

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