NUMBERS of smokers in the South West have reached a record low and boasts the lowest smoking rate in England since a ban came into force 10 years ago, figures reveal.

Public Health England say 230,000 people have given up smoking in the south west since 2007 and Bournemouth has the lowest number of deaths related to smoking compared to other major towns and cities.

One in five - 20.7 per cent - smoked in the region in 2007 but the latest figure from 2016 shows this has dropped to 14.3 per cent.

In 2007 the government passed a new law which made it illegal for anyone to smoke in an enclosed public place and within the workplace.

Russ Moody, tobacco control lead for Public Health England South West said: “In the South West of England smoking rates continue to fall across the region and are now the lowest on record at less than 15 per cent. Tobacco sales are also in decline as record numbers of people quit smoking. This is good news but there is more work needed to encourage more smokers to kick the habit and give themselves a better chance of staying healthy and avoiding conditions such as lung and oral cancers, coronary heart disease (CHD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and strokes.

“Recent figures on smoking rates revealed more good news with a steep decline in smoking among younger adults with smoking at an all-time low in those aged 18-24 years – this is a huge step toward establishing the first tobacco-free generation.

“I would urge any smoker who is thinking of quitting to make this 10th anniversary the day they plan to quit smoking too. Put simply, quitting really is the best thing any smoker can do for their health.”