Tower Hamlets performs poorly in smoking stats

Photo: Sarah DuMay @ flickr

Tower Hamlets has the highest death rate from smoking in London, according to new health statistics published today.

The borough performed worst among its neighbours in a number of metrics included in the Local Tobacco Control Profiles, a set of statistics measuring smoking-related health issues.

The report, produced by statistical monitoring group the London Health Observatory, showed that Tower Hamlets came bottom among the capital’s boroughs in several categories measuring mortality rates related to smoking.

The borough reported 315 deaths from smoking per 100,000 population aged 35+ between 2006 and 2008 – more than double the rate of London’s best-performing borough, Kensington and Chelsea, which had only 127. The Tower Hamlets figures were also far above the national average for England, which was 207.

Deaths from heart disease attributable to smoking among similar population samples showed equally elevated levels in the Tower Hamlets, as did mortality from lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

However, nearby Hackney was found to have the highest proportion of adult smokers in London, at 32% – while Tower Hamlets reported figures of just over 30% – well above England’s 22% average.

One statistic which proved less worrying for Tower Hamlets was that of smoking during pregnancy – an area in which the borough exhibited one of the best performances in the country. Only 4% of women giving birth reported smoking, against a national average of just under 15%.

Dr Bobbie Jacobson, Director of the London Health Observatory, said: “These findings show that smoking remains a stubborn marker of London’s poorest communities.”

“The low reported smoking in pregnancy rates are encouraging, and probably reflect the low overall smoking prevalence in women in some ethnic communities,” she added.

“It is good news that our NHS stop smoking services are targeted to where they are most needed, but the overall findings show that there is still a long way to go across the broader tobacco control front.”

Click here to view a detailed breakdown of the Tobacco Control Profiles statistics by area on the London Heath Observatory website.

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