Fifers more likely to die from respiratory illnesses than rest of Scotland

People in Fife were more likely to die from respiratory illnesses than the rest of the Scotland in 2021, new figures show – despite significant differences across the UK.
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Thousands of people die from lung conditions every year, such as flu, pneumonia and lung disease.

New analysis by the charity Asthma + Lung UK lays bare the inequality in deaths between different areas of the UK.

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Figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were 102 deaths from respiratory illness for every 100,000 people in Fife – meaning the area has more than the 99 for Scotland as a whole.

The number of Fifers who smoke is higher than UK averageThe number of Fifers who smoke is higher than UK average
The number of Fifers who smoke is higher than UK average

These figures have been standardised to account for age differences across different areas.

Fife ranked 17th in Scotland for deaths and 96th across the UK as a whole.

Separate figures, also from the ONS, show 15.3% of adults in Fife are smokers – higher than the UK average of 13.3%.

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Asthma + Lung UK said the Government must address the 'stark inequality' in lung health across the UK.

Sarah Woolnough, chief executive, said: “It’s appalling that people across the UK are struggling to breathe, are being rushed to hospital in an emergency and that so many are dying avoidably from their lung conditions.”

She continued: "We know that people in more deprived areas are more likely to have worse lung health, often with no choice but to live in poorer quality housing, more polluted areas with higher smoking rates. We need to tackle the lung health lottery head on.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are investing millions in research and backing the NHS’s targeted lung health checks programme.

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“We’ve set ambitious clean air targets to reduce the health impacts of air pollution – ensuring reductions are made where concentrations are highest – and we’re committed to delivering on our Smokefree ambition by 2030, with smoking rates in England currently at an all-time low.”

“Chronic respiratory diseases forms a significant part of our Major Conditions Strategy, which covers the six different conditions that most affect the population in England and aims to alleviate pressure on the health system and support people to live healthier lives for longer, wherever they live,” they added.