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New figures estimate the number of deaths and hospital admissions caused by smoking
New estimates published by the Public Health Wales Observatory suggest that over 5,000 deaths every year in Wales are attributable to smoking, which is around one in six of all deaths in people aged 35 and over.
While fewer people in Wales are now smoking compared to previous years, the publication shows that smoking continues to place a heavy burden on individual’s health, families and health services in Wales.
For the many agencies involved in efforts to further reduce smoking rates in Wales, a projection tool is also available to help show how rates could change in the future if more people quit the habit and fewer people started smoking.
Dr Julie Bishop, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health Wales, said:
“These new figures demonstrate the scale of harm that smoking continues to cause in Wales. We have come a long way in reducing smoking rates over recent years, but it is clear that we must not rest on our laurels.
“A new Tobacco Control Delivery Plan was recently launched by Welsh Government, detailing a number of measures to help more smokers to quit and to prevent young people from taking up the habit.
“By showing how gains on these two fronts might affect the overall smoking rate, our new projection tool can support the planning of collective action in Wales towards achieving the target prevalence of 16% by 2020.”
The majority of smoking attributable deaths are associated with cancer, circulatory disease and respiratory disease. In men over the age of 35, around one third of deaths from cancer are attributable to smoking.
Furthermore, the publication of the data also highlights the effect that smoking has on health inequalities. Rates of smoking-attributable mortality are twice as high in the most disadvantaged areas of Wales as in the least disadvantaged.
The intention of the Future Generations Act is to make public bodies consider the longer term in their planning and activities. In doing so they should work to prevent problems worsening, or even from occurring, and to aim towards improvement.