Hyndburn’s MP has said the area is ‘at war’ with tobacco and booze as shock health figures reveal the borough to have the second highest rate of smoking-related deaths in Lancashire.
A health report published by Public Health England has found that 411 people per 100,000 of the population die in the Hyndburn area every year from smoking-related illness.
The figure equated to 172 deaths last year, meaning only Blackpool has a worse rate in the county.
MP Graham Jones said that tobacco was ‘ruining’ people’s lives in Hyndburn.
He said: “We have to accept that we are in a war on booze and fags.
“The multimillion tobacco and drinks lobby spend millions telling residents in Hyndburn and elsewhere that their products are safe and desirable, when all the evidence is conclusively the opposite of that.
“Excessive booze ruins your health, tobacco ruins your health.”
He added: “More people in Hyndburn than elsewhere are on sickness and disability benefits as a consequence of booze, fags and fatty, sugary food. There’s no escaping the consequences of it.
“That is why I have promoted throughout my career for better education, particularly for young people, and investment in local leisure and I’ll continue to campaign for better health.”
The report deems the prevalence of smoking in the borough ‘significantly worse’ than the English average, with 29 per cent of over 18s smoking.
The report also revealed that 18 per cent of pregnant women are still smoking at the time of delivery, also much higher than the England average.
Dr Mike Ions, chief clinical officer for NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Smoking still remains the single biggest preventable cause of premature death.
“Quitting is not easy but it can be made easier with the right support and tools.”
Campaign group Action on Smoking and Health has echoed the call for stricter controls, backing measures such as a ban on smoking in cars.
But Giles Roca, director general of the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association hit back at tighter controls on the industry.
He said: “Aside from the unwarranted intrusion on individual freedoms, this continued drive to over-regulate the UK tobacco market will simply create greater opportunities for organised crime groups involved in smuggling on a massive scale.”
What do you think? Write your letters to email@example.com