In 2017, the Welsh Government had set a target to reduce the number of smokers in Wales to 16%. To date, the percentage of smokers remains at 18%.
Besides the heartache and personal losses that smoke-related diseases and deaths cause, they are also costing the NHS in Wales over £300m a year. Earlier this year, ASH Wales (Action on Smoking and Health Wales) chose World No Tobacco Day to remind people of the lung damage that can result from the dangerous addiction.
In 2017, the Welsh Government had set a target to reduce the number of smokers in Wales to 16% of all adults by 2020. To date, this target has not been met, and the percentage of smokers remains at 18%. Suzanne Cass, chief executive of ASH Wales, spelt out why this major public health risk must be tackled swiftly.
“Quitting smoking is hard and many people find it tough to quit for good the first time they try,” she said. “Evidence shows that the sooner you quit, the lower your chances of developing a debilitating lung condition are. We must ensure everyone has the support they need to kick this dangerous habit for good.”
Smokers should have access to the their preferred cessation aids
She believes that health professionals need to be able to give smokers the support they need to quit with whichever method suits their needs best, and this may well be via e-cigarettes, which are found to be the most effective smoking cessation tools to date.
Together with other leading Welsh health charities, including British Heart Foundation Cymru, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation Wales, ASH Wales are calling on Welsh authorities for an official plan to address the issue of smoking.