Mel Stride

    CENTRAL DEVON MP Mel Stride has welcomed figures from Public Health England that show smoking rates have fallen to the lowest on record. Approximately 7.2million adults now consider themselves as smokers, equating to 16.9% of the population with the South West being the region with the fewest smokers.

    Mr Stride, who successfully campaigned alongside other MPs for plain packaging for cigarettes to make them less appealing, said:

    “The release of the figures by Public Health England is well-timed with its Stoptober campaign about to begin. Although smoking is still far too common and there is a huge amount more to do, these figures are nevertheless encouraging. Around half a million people gave up smoking in 2015 – a real achievement - and there has never been more help available for those trying to kick the habit.”

    Mr Stride was also optimistic that the decline will continue:

    “There is strong evidence that giving up smoking has a knock-on effect, with a spouse 67% more likely to quit if their partner does and children far less likely to start smoking if neither of their parents do. When combined with plain-packaging which will reduce the attractiveness of cigarettes to younger non-smokers who may be tempted, I do hope we will see a snowball effect with further year-on-year declines in the future.”

    More information about Stoptober is available at The campaign claims that if a smoker can stop for 28 days they are five times more likely to quit for good.