Northumberland kids seek help to stop smoking
More than a dozen children in Northumerland used an NHS service to try and quit smoking during the coronavirus pandemic, new figures reveal.
NHS Digital data shows 16 under-18s in the area set a date to quit using the NHS Stop Smoking Service between April last year and March.
At follow-up meetings a month later, six said they had given up.
The previous year, five under-18s successfully quit, out of 20 who set a target date.
The figures also show that, in Northumberland, 59% of people of all ages said they had successfully quit smoking last year – up from 44% the year before.
Nationally, the self-reported quit rate rose from 51% to 59% over this period, though success varied significantly between 82% and just 21%.
Hazel Cheeseman, deputy chief executive of Anti-smoking group ASH, said: "Recent research highlighted that younger people appear to have been taking up or going back to smoking in larger numbers.
"It appears likely that for younger people the stress of lockdown has led to more smoking while for older smokers health fears have prompted more quitting.”
Jon Foster, senior policy officer at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: "If the Government is serious about reaching its own ambition for a smoke-free England by 2030, then they need to reverse the 50% cuts that local stop smoking services have seen over the past few years.”
A Department for Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “We are addressing the damaging health implications of smoking right across the country, especially where rates remain stubbornly high.”