More smokers are quitting across Shropshire
Cigarettes are becoming an increasingly rare sight in Shropshire, as smoking rates hit a seven-year low, new figures show.
There are also fewer smokers in Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales.
Public Health England says the habit is in terminal decline and that a smoke-free generation is in sight.
But campaign group Action on Smoking and Health has called on the Government to impose a “polluter pays” levy on the tobacco industry to help end smoking by 2035.
The latest Office for National Statistics data shows that 13.6 per cent of people aged 18 and over in Shropshire were smokers last year.
It was the lowest smoking rate for seven years – in 2012, it was 19 per cent.
In Telford and Wrekin, 21.9 per cent of over 18s were smokers in 2012, but this dropped to 16.2 per cent last year. The level has dropped from 18 per cent to 13.8 per cent in Powys over the same period.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said: “Smoking in England is in terminal decline, with the lowest number of smokers ever and a smoke-free generation now in sight.”
Campaign group Action on Smoking and Health Wales welcomed the figures but warns that more than 450,000 people in the country continue to light up.
It said the problem was worst in Wales’ most deprived areas, and added that reducing smoking should remain a major public health priority.
Suzanne Cass, CEO of ASH Wales, said she hoped the results reflect a shift in attitudes towards smoking.
Across Wales, the smoking rate hit a seven-year low of 15.9 per cent. Across England, it stands at 14.4 per cent.