BARNSLEY residents are being encouraged to stop smoking this month after it was revealed that more than 15 per cent of the borough’s adults are consistently using cigarettes.

The first of October marked the start of Stoptober, an annual national campaign to help smokers kick the habit.

The campaign runs throughout the month, because people are five times more likely to quit for good if they can make it to at least 28 days smoke free.

Local residents are being encouraged to take part in the campaign, and Dr David Crichton, chief medical officer at NHS South Yorkshire, said quitting is easier than most people think.

He added: “There are so many benefits to not smoking - it’s one of the most important things you can do to improve your health and wellbeing, and not just for you, but for your family as well.

“Stoptober provides an opportunity to highlight the wide range of support, to help quit smoking. People create their own quit plan, often with like-minded people who plan to quit and need a bit of support and inspiration.

“So this October, join the thousands of smokers committing to quitting.

“It’s much easier to stop smoking when you get the right support and there are lots of options to choose from.”

There are a number of services available for Barnsley residents, including at the hospital and at Yorkshire Smokefree Barnsley.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 15.8 per cent of adults in Barnsley smoked in 2022 - down from 17 per cent the year before and the lowest rate since records began for the area in 2012.

It follows trends across England, where the national rate of smokers reached 12.7 per cent, the lowest level on record.

Across the UK, smoking among adults also fell to its lowest level of 12.9 per cent last year - a drop on the 13.3 per cent reported in 2021.

However, charity Action on Smoking and Health said the figures are a ‘wake up call’ as rates across the country are not falling fast enough to meet the government’s target of five per cent or less by 2030.

Deborah Arnott, ASH chief executive, said: “Smoking rates are falling, but not nearly fast enough to deliver on the government’s ambition of five per cent or less by 2030.

“Financial stress and poor mental health are on the rise, which we know makes it harder for smokers to quit.”

The ONS figures also showed 5.2 per cent of people aged over 16 used e-cigarettes daily in 2022, up from 4.9 per cent in 2021.

Ms Arnott said the growth in vaping among adult smokers and ex-smokers was welcome as vaping is a very successful aid to quitting smoking.

However, she added there is a worrying growth in vaping among teens and young adults with 15.5 per cent of young people aged 16 to 24 years vaping daily or occasionally last year.