Smoking was the cause of nearly 408,700 hospital admissions in England during 2022-2023, up 4.8% compared with 389,800 in 2021-2022, according to the latest data from NHS England.
In 2022-23, smoking was related to nearly one in six (16%) of all admissions for respiratory diseases. It resulted in 8% of all admissions for cancers, as well as 7% of admissions for cardiovascular ailments during the same period.
Smoking was linked to 314,100 hospital admissions in 2020-2021.
However, the number of smoking-linked admissions in the last three years was lesser compared to the pre-pandemic period of 2019-2020, when 446,400 such admissions were recorded.
This October, the government unveiled plans to introduce a law that would bar legal sale of cigarettes across England to those born on or after 1 January 2009.
To control vaping among young people and reduce their interest, it is also looking to regulate the packaging and flavour of vapes and restrict the sale of disposable vapes.
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The measures are geared towards making England smoke-free by 2030, and NHS supports this ambition. Wales too has a 2030 smokefree goal.
Besides, the NHS provides dedicated support to help pregnant women quit smoking.
Public Health Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “No other consumer product kills up to two-thirds of its users, which is why we have set out plans to stop children who turn 14 this year and younger from ever legally being sold cigarettes, the most significant public health intervention in a generation.
“We are doubling funding for stop smoking services, helping 360,000 people quit, and providing local authorities with one million free vapes via our world-first ‘Swap to Stop’ programme.”
This September, NHS invited more than one million people for a lung cancer check, at sites including football stadiums and shopping car parks.
Former and existing smokers were invited to attend a consultation at these sites and those at highest risk were offered chest scans on the spot.
Meanwhile, a recent study led by UCL researchers unveiled that a decades-long fall in smoking prevalence in England slowed to 0.3% during the Covid-19 crisis, between April 2020 and August 2022.
This slowdown was more pronounced in advantaged social groups, noted the study.
Before the pandemic, smoking prevalence dropped by 5.2% a year between June 2017 and February 2020.