Rochdale borough has above average smokers, with cancer in the UK at an “all time high”

Date published: 10 July 2024

Cancer Research UK is calling on the newly elected Government to help end the devastation caused by smoking in the north west.

According to the Office for National Statistics Annual Population Survey, around 15.3 per cent of adults smoked in Rochdale borough in 2021 -  above the average England rate of 12.7 per cent.

New analysis from Cancer Research reveals smoking is now responsible for an estimated 6,800 cancer cases a year in the north west as a whole.

Although smoking rates in the UK are going down, a growing population means there are more than 728,000 people in the North West who still smoke.

The figures have been released as the UK hits an all-time high of an estimated 160 cancer cases per day caused by smoking. 

The biggest increases have been seen in liver, throat and kidney cancer, where UK cases caused by smoking have doubled over the last 20 years.

However, lung cancer still has the strongest link to smoking, causing 33,000 cases each year.

Cancer Research UK says the numbers underline the urgent need to tackle smoking by bringing back the Tobacco and Vapes bill in the first King’s speech on 17 July.   

The Bill included legislation to raise the age of sale of tobacco so that nobody born on or after 1 January 2009 would ever legally be sold cigarettes in their lifetime – helping to create the first ever smoke free generation.

Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the north west, Jemma Humphreys, said: “Right now, thousands of people in the region are diagnosed every year with cancer that was caused by smoking. That’s thousands of families’ lives changed forever by an illness that could have been prevented. 

“Smoking has no place in our future. Raising the age of sale of tobacco products will be one of the biggest public health interventions in living memory, establishing the UK as a world-leader.

"It’s vital that this Bill is re-introduced at the King’s Speech, passed and implemented in full so the impact of smoking is consigned to the history books.” 

She added: “Smoking remains the biggest cause of cancer in the UK. So, it’s vital that the Government continues to sustainably fund smoking cessation services to give those who want to quit the support they need to succeed.  

“Stopping smoking is the best thing people in the North West can do for their health, but it’s not always easy, and it can take a few attempts to find the method that works for you. But keep trying and get support from your free local stop smoking service, doctor or pharmacist.” 

Ending cancers caused by smoking will see more people in the region - and across the UK - living longer, better lives, which has been a key call of Cancer Research UK’s campaign to ensure the general election is a turning point for people affected by the disease. 

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