The latest figures on smoking show that people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire with a manual or routine job, such as labourers, bar staff, lorry drivers, receptionists and care workers, are almost twice as likely to smoke compared with others in the area.
Smoking rates in the area have fallen to around 13% in recent years, but this figure rises to 24% for people in these types of jobs.
The local NHS is working to understand why some groups of people are more likely to smoke to help address inequalities in health and life expectancy for different people in the area.
Dr Alison Wint, local GP and clinical lead for specialised care at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), explains more:
“Differences in smoking rates are a significant contributor to the health differences we see for different groups of people, and it is important that we understand why some groups are more likely to smoke.
“Research shows that people in routine or manual jobs are aware of the negative health impacts of smoking, but don’t necessarily know about services which can help. Data from local people in the Healthier Together Citizens’ Panel also shows that people who smoke are most likely to continue to do so because of stress, anxiety or depression, or because of physical addiction.
“We know that nudges and support from loved ones can really help. Family and children are one of the most successful motivators for helping people quit, and involving friends and family in plans can be a great way of improving your chances.
“If you’re a smoker, the best way to improve your health is to quit, and there has never been a better time with some fantastic resources available. The sooner you quit smoking, the sooner you'll start noticing changes to your body and health.”
The figures are being promoted ahead of National No Smoking Day on 11 March - an awareness day that encourages smokers to quit and celebrates those who have kicked the habit in the past.
Resources to help you stop smoking are available on the Bristol City Council website, OneYou South Gloucestershire website and North Somerset Council website. The NHS Smokefree website has a tool that can help you produce a Personal Quit Plan.
OneYou has designed an infographic to show what happens to your body at different points in time after you stop smoking.