Why fewer Fifers are smoking in 2019

Pic: Neil Doig, Fife Free Press
Pic: Neil Doig, Fife Free Press

Cigarettes are becoming a rarer sight in Fife, as smoking rates have dropped in recent years, figures show.

Campaign group Action on Smoking and Health Scotland has welcomed the drop but says millions of people across the UK are still blighted by the biggest preventable cause of early death.

The latest Office for National Statistics data shows that 15 per cent of people aged 18 and over in Fife were smokers last year.

The rate has fallen since 2012, the first year local data was collected, when it stood at 22.5 per cent.

The local trend broadly reflects that across Scotland, where the smoking rate hit a seven-year low of 16.3 per cen t.

ASH Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy said the national drop was encouraging, but that there is no room for complacency.

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She added: “The latest ONS figures show that in Scotland alone, over a quarter of a million fewer people are smoking than just seven years ago.

“But with millions of people across the UK still blighted by the biggest preventable cause of ill health and early death, there is so much still to do. This is not a job done; it is very much a work in progress.”

Of the non-smokers in Fife, 28.8 per cent had kicked the habit and 56.2 per cent had never lit up.

The national figures show unemployed people were more than twice as likely to smoke as those with jobs.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said that reducing the use of tobacco is a public health priority.

They added: “We have invested around £10 million annually over the last five years in stop-smoking services, and since 2010 Scotland has seen the largest decline in the proportion of smokers across the UK.

“We are also helping a larger proportion of people in our more deprived areas to stop smoking than anywhere else in the UK. This focused approach is reducing health inequalities and Cancer Research UK has recommended that the rest of the UK adopts our approach.”