Giving up smoking is harder to do in Leicester than almost anywhere else in the UK

Leicester one of top five areas where residents find it harder to give up smoking
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


Leicester has been branded one of the areas in the UK where it is hardest to give up smoking. A new survey found the city came in fourth on the list, with a total of 43,190 ex-smokers.

The study, conducted by online vape retailer Vape Globe, looked at the latest available data for 2022 from the Office for National Statistics on the number of ex-smokers in UK local authorities. Of Leicester's 2022 population of 366,018, 11.8 per cent had kicked the habit once and for all.

Researchers then ranked each area based on the lowest-to-highest percentage of its population that is ex-smoker. The areas with the lowest percentages of ex-smokers have been interpreted as places where it is harder to quit smoking compared to most of the country. Two London boroughs, Tower Hamlets and Newham came top of the list, while Epsom and Ewell, situated in Surrey, was the only other place above Leicester.

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The total number of smokers in Leicester in 2022 has been calculated as 19.6 per cent of its population. This compared to 12.9 per cent across the UK the same year.

In April, MPs in the House of Commons voted in favour of the bill to ban smoking by making it an offence for anyone born on or after January 1, 2009, to be sold tobacco products, effectively confirming it will be passed as law. However, it still has to go through the House of Lords, where amendments to the specific nature of the law can be made.

Leicester one of top five areas where residents find it harder to give up smoking
Leicester one of top five areas where residents find it harder to give up smoking -Credit:Vape Globe

At the time, LeicestershireLive took to the streets to find out what people thought of the bill. Garry Paton, 51, from Melton, is a former smoker and is happy that his children won’t be able to buy cigarettes. He said: “I have got one that was born in 2009 and one in 2012 and they will never be able to buy cigarettes. I think it's a good thing. I know what it's like to smoke and not smoke health-wise.

“You never realise how much you struggle sometimes until you stop. Whether that’s running up the road, any physical activity you used to do when you were younger, saving individually, government finances, the well being of them long term, it’s good.

“It's a different generation. It's more difficult to buy cigarettes and alcohol because of the laws and spot checks that shops can get. It's not as easy as it used to be.”

Garry’s mum, Muriel, 75, was a smoker for 30 years and suffers from the pulmonary disease COPD as a result. She was “glad” to hear the news.

She said: “I am glad they have done it but I think people have their own lives. I think people should have a choice whether they should smoke or whether they shouldn’t.

“I finished smoking 19 years ago and it’s given me COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease]. For how much I have suffered, it's an addiction.

A spokesperson for Vape Globe commented on the findings: “It seems way harder to quit smoking in bigger towns and cities. With six London boroughs in the top ten alone, it highlights the challenges urban environments pose for smoking cessation efforts. Another example is the city of Leicester, which registers the biggest population in the top ten but still does not see a great percentage of ex-smokers, remaining below 12 per cent.”