The 2011, State of the South West report highlights data showing a drop in rates of smoking and alcohol consumption, but there’s a difference in social status,
The report, produced by the South West Observatory, includes figures from the latest General Lifestyle Survey (2009) showing that there has been a 3% drop in adults smoking in the area, with a massive 5% drop in smoking among women.
The South West now has an overall smoking rate of 18% which compares favourably to the national rate of 21%. Smoking in women fell to 17% from 22% in 2008, well below the national level of 20%, and smoking in men fell by 2% to 19% to lie comfortably under the national average of 22%.
There has also been a reduction in alcohol consumption. In 2008, 28% of women and 37% of men in the South West reported drinking above recommended daily limits on at least one day in the week.
This dropped to 24% of women and 34% of men in 2009, and compares favourably with the England average of 29% for women and 37% for men. The percentage of women drinking more than twice the recommended sensible daily limit (defined as a maximum of three units per day for women and four for men) was 15% in 2008. This fell to 9% in 2009. For men the drop was from 21% in 2008 to 17% in 2009.
Dr Julia Verne, director of the South West Public Health Observatory, told the PRSD: “These are positive results for the South West and suggest that people are beginning to change their behaviour to improve their health.
“But it mustn’t be forgotten that one in two smokers will die as a result of their habit and alcohol-related hospital admissions have been on the increase. Many lives could be saved and illness prevented if more people stopped smoking and reduced their consumption of alcohol to safe levels.
“Of particular concern are differences between the most and least deprived groups. The report shows that alcohol-specific hospital admissions in the most deprived groups are almost four times higher than in the least deprived groups and that smoking rates are higher in people with routine or manual compared with professional or managerial jobs.”
(from a press release)