Key Findings
  • Smoking is the single largest cause of preventable ill health and premature mortality in the UK, responsible for over 79,000 deaths per year in England, and 1,817 deaths in 2016-18 in Wirral
  • It is estimated that one in five deaths each year in Wirral are related to smoking, making it the single greatest risk factor for poor health and early death
  • Smoking has considerable health and social costs both for the individual smoker and society, not to mention the burden on the UK economy, estimated at £12.5 billion/year
  • The total current estimate of smoking cost on the Wirral is just over £70 million pounds per annum
  • The UK’s tobacco control plan ‘Towards a Smokefree Generation’ aims to reduce adult smoking rates to 12% or less, childhood smoking to 3% or less, and smoking in pregnancy to 6% or less by 2022
  • In 2018, Wirral’s adult smoking prevalence declined to its lowest ever recorded level of 12%, which is lower than the national average (14.4%), however considerable variation remains
  • More than half (56%) of all those who smoke in Wirral live in areas classed as the most deprived areas in England. For comparison, the least deprived (or most affluent areas of Wirral) contain only 4% of all Wirral’s smokers
  • The four wards with the highest 18+ smoking prevalence rates are also the four most deprived wards in Wirral according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2019; Birkenhead and Tranmere, Seacombe, Bidston and St. James, and Rock Ferry
  • The highest proportion of people reporting they have never smoked were those in the youngest age group of 18-34 at 70%
  • Approximately one in seven (15.1%) people aged 40-74 who had an NHS Health Check in Wirral in 2018/19 reported being either a current or occasional smoker
  • Locally, illicit tobacco continues to be an issue, which the Wirral Trading Standards Team works hard to combat through underage sales test purchasing, business advice, and intelligence lead enforcement work with Wagtail and Merseyside Police
  • Since 2010/11, Wirral, the North West, and England have all shown a reduction in the proportion of maternal smoking at time of delivery. However, the percentage of women smoking at time of delivery in Wirral (13.9%) is considerably higher than the national average (10.6%)
  • In Wirral, 22% of people reported that they have ever vaped, while 78% of people said they had never vaped. People most likely to ever have vaped lived in Birkenhead Constituency, while those least likely to have vaped lived in Wirral West
  • Locally, Wirral’s successful 4 week quit rate of 4,848 per 100,000 is considerably better than the Northwest average of 2,040 per 100,000 and the national average of 1,984 per 100,000
  • Since 2017/18, A Better Life (ABL; Wirral’s Stop Smoking Service) has consistently met the targets of 4-week quitters as well as the proportion of those quitters that are still smokefree at 12 weeks
  • Overall the 30-74 age-band comprised of just over 80% of all users of ABL in 2018/19
  • Wirral’s Smokefree Strategy commits to tackling tobacco use via the four pillars of communicating risk, supporting people who want to quit, creating smokefree environments and acting on illicit tobacco
  • Although Wirral’s well-established smoking service is achieving excellent quit rates and smoking prevalence overall is declining, more must be done to support the most disadvantaged groups in order to reduce health inequalities
  • Young people are an underrepresented group among the demographics of ABL’s service users, and there is a dearth of local data around their behaviours and attitudes despite the smokefree generation vision being pinned on them as the (non)smokers of the future
  • Smoking services in Wirral focus more on smoking cessation than they do on prevention and the broader tobacco control policy
Local Data, Insight and Engagement
  • Key Tobacco Control information & data for Wirral (produced by Public Health England for 2019/20) This pack aims to signpost you to available tools and datasets to support your work in making the case for local tobacco control interventions

  • Local Tobacco Control Profiles (produced by Public Health England, updated on an ongoing basis)
    The Local Tobacco Control Profiles for England and Local Tobacco Control Fingertips Profile for Wirral provide a snapshot of the extent of tobacco use, tobacco related harm, and measures being taken to reduce this harm at a local level

  • Tobacco Control - CLear Report for Wirral (June 2018) CLeaR is a way for local public health organisations to assess, review and improve their tobacco control work. Wirral were visited by the CLeaR team and participated in an external peer assessment and this report summarises that involvement
  • The Young Persons’ Alcohol and Tobacco Survey 2017
    These two surveys (Wirral and North West) have been conducted in the North West every two years since 2005. Fieldwork for the latest survey took place between January and April 2017 and targeted 14 to 17 year olds in school/college settings
  • Wirral Smoking and Alcohol Prevalence Survey (April 2017) This local survey informs local commissioners and service providers of the smoking prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption in the 20% most deprived areas of Wirral, with over 2,900 interviews providing essential local insight and information
  • Cost effectiveness of smoking services in Wirral (May 2015) In 2013 there was a comprehensive cost effectiveness analysis of smoking services in Wirral looking initially at data for 2011/12 financial year (refreshed in 2014). The report aimed to use data to understand the current landscape around tobacco in Wirral

  • Wirral’s Smoking Cessation programme: stakeholders consultation (March 2015) From January 2015 to March 2015 the Public Health team carried out a 12 week consultation with stakeholders to gather ideas and opinions that would help shape Wirral’s Smoking Cessation programme. Methods of consultation included an online questionnaire advertised and made accessible to the public, paper versions of the online questionnaire completed by clients during their session with existing services and an engagement event for professionals who have an involvement and/or interest in either smoking cessation, prevention and/or other aspects of tobacco control

  • Analysis of Wirral Stop Smoking Service clients using Mosaic Public Sector (Wirral Public Health Intelligence Team, February 2015) Mosaic is a geo-demographic population classification tool used to segment the population according to the type of neighbourhood in which they live. This report provides analysis of Wirral stop smoking service clients

  • Profile of smoking in pregnancy in Wirral (MOSAIC) (2014) according to the type of neighbourhood in which they live. This report provides analysis of smoking in pregnancy of Wirral residents

  • Tobacco Control - CLear Report for Wirral (February 2014) CLeaR is a way for local public health organisations to assess, review and improve their tobacco control work. Wirral were visited by the CLeaR team and participated in an external peer assessment and this report summarises that involvement

  • Wirral Smokefree Hospitals: Evaluation Report (July 2013) This evaluation report describes the outcomes and outputs from a stop smoking social marketing project that took place across Wirral University Teaching Hospital sites; Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge.  The project took place from November 2012 to June 2013

  • Wirral Smoking Prevalence Report (October 2012) This prevalence report presents the results of telephone interviews with just under 3,500 Wirral residents carried out in September and October 2012, with an emphasis on the more deprived areas of Wirral

Other Data and Insight
  • Towards a Smokefree Generation: Making it happen here! Public Health England - Birmingham (November 2017) Conference Report and Sources

  • Aiming High: Why the UK should aim to be tobacco free ’Cancer Research UK’s tobacco modelling (February 2016) This report suggests that smoking could cause 1.35 million new cases of smoking related illnesses over the next 20 years

  • Health matters: a resource - first edition focusing on smoking and quitting in England (September 2015) Designed to support commissioning and delivering services across local areas, the resource brings together a package of additional local and national level data, policy and programme expertise, plus campaigning and social marketing help
  • Smoking: harm reduction (NICE Quality Standard, July 2015) 
    This quality standard covers ways of reducing harm from smoking. In particular, this includes people who are highly dependent on nicotine and who may not be able (or want) to stop smoking in one step, who may want to stop smoking without giving up nicotine, who may want to reduce the amount they smoke without stopping, or who want to abstain temporarily from smoking

  • Smoking in prisons: management of tobacco use and nicotine withdrawal (May 2015) Public Health England This guidance brings together the research on smoking in prisons and outlines a joined-up care pathway for treatment.

  • Child Poverty and Smoking (BMC: Public Health Journal (June 2015)
    In 2011/12 approximately 2.3 million children (17% of UK children) were estimated to be in relative poverty. This research suggested that 1.1 million children - almost half of all children in poverty - were estimated to be living with at least one parent who smoked. The report highlights tobacco control interventions that effectively enable low income smokers to quit and reduce the financial burden of child poverty