The percentage of adults who smoke in Wirral is down to just 10.7% - below the figure for England and the North West region.

That's according to the latest Tobacco Control Profiles for ABL Health’s Wirral Smoking Cessation service.

Having taken over the Wirral service in 2016, when the figure was 18%, it is a big win for Head of Smoking Cessation Elizabeth Woodworth and her the team, as well as the borough's public.

Julie Webster, Wirral’s Director of Public Health, said: “With the percentage of adults who smoke down to just 10.7%, compared to 18% in 2016, this significant drop in smoking prevalence will have a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of our communities and indeed our health services, which is timely in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As smokers touch their faces, remove face coverings to smoke, share lighters – the risk of contracting Covid-19 is increased, and that’s before we even consider the effect smoking has on the lungs’ ability to fight off the infection.

“I would encourage anyone who smokes, or who may have been thinking more about quitting due to Covid-19, to contact Wirral’s stop smoking service today. The service provides support to those who are thinking about quitting – and has continued to support our communities throughout lockdown, online and via phone.”

ABL Health says that the impact of the reduction of smoking on communities may seem small but they include:

• Reduced Covid-19 risk.

• Less spend on the NHS – hospital stays, hospital and GP appointments

• Less spend on domiciliary visits by specialist nurse/district nurses

• Improvements in Mental health

• Healthier children not subjected to secondhand smoke

• Less days off sick from work

• More productivity in work – no need for smoking breaks

• Less crime (smuggled tobacco use)

• Economy change due to people having more money to spend on things they couldn`t have previously done

The Tobacco Control Profiles are produced by Public Health England to provide a snapshot of current tobacco use at local level.

The figure for England as a whole is 13.9% and the North West is 14.5%. There is a National target of 5% prevalence by 2027.