Smoking in Adults


  • Around 1 in 5 adults in Wakefield district are smokers (19.3%), according to the national annual population survey (2018).
  • Smoking prevalence in Wakefield district has fallen in recent years.
  • Approximately 20% of deaths in Wakefield are attributable to smoking.
  • Around 4,700 hospital admissions in 2018/19 were attributable to smoking.
  • There are large inequalities in smoking prevalence, with high prevalence in people living in deprived areas.

The Population

Smoking is an issue that affects the full population, with prevalence in Wakefield being at its highest in people aged between 20 and 29 (30.6%). There are currently an estimated 56,600 adult smokers in Wakefield district.
Smoking affects both men and women, although it is more prevalent in men in Wakefield. It is also an issue that affects young people, with 8.2% of 15 year olds choosing to smoke (What About Youth survey, 2014/15). For more details on smoking affecting children, please click here.

In 2018/19, 16.4% of mothers in Wakefield were recorded as a smoker at the time of delivering their child/children. This has a negative effect on both the mother and child. To see more information about smoking in pregnancy, please click here.

The Challenges

Using the national annual population survey figures, we can see that Wakefield has a significantly higher level of smoking (19.3%) than the national average (14.4%). Whilst the prevalence of smoking has fallen from 25.1% in 2012 to 19.3% in 2018, the gap between the Wakefield and national rates has remained consistent.

The ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) ready reckoner tool estimates that smoking costs society in Wakefield around £95.1 million a year.

In the window below you can explore some of the Public Health England smoking measures, to see how Wakefield compares to other areas and assess trends in the data over time.

You can use the ‘Geography version’ dropdown to see different indicators.

The Inequality

Smoking Prevalence

We have developed local estimates of smoking prevalence, based on data from primary care systems where an individual has a smoking status recorded in the last 18 months. This allows us to assess the level of inequality in smoking prevalence across different geographies, genders and age groups. As some individuals don’t have a smoking status, these local figures should be treated purely as estimates, but provide a good guide as to the picture of smoking prevalence within Wakefield district.

The prevalence of smoking varies greatly across the different sections of society in Wakefield. People from poorer backgrounds are more likely to be smokers and men are more likely to smoke than women.

Smoking is also more prevalent in certain areas of Wakefield district, which is mostly due to the levels of deprivation that are found in these areas and the correlation between deprivation and smoking. Wards such as Airedale & Ferry Fryston (30.5%), Wakefield East (30.2%) and Hemsworth (28.1%) are amongst the areas with the highest smoking prevalence rates.

The dashboard below demonstrates some of the differences in estimated smoking prevalence in Wakefield district across different genders, deprivation deciles, GP Practice and geographical boundaries such as wards. There is an option to view the data by deprivation decile – we used deprivation deciles as a way of segmenting the population into ten groups determined by the deprivation score given to each residential area. People who live in the 10% most deprived areas are in deprivation decile 1 (most deprived), and those in the 10% least deprived areas are in deprivation decile 10 (least deprived).

You can use this interactive dashboard to explore these inequalities.

Source: Primary Care Data Systems. Data only available from SystmOne (33 out of 37 GP Practices)

Smoking attributable hospital admissions

Smoking is proven to have a significant impact on an individual’s health, leading to many serious conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and cancers. As a result, many of the admissions to hospital can be attributed to smoking.

In 2018/19 locally calculated figures suggest that around 4,700 hospital admissions by Wakefield residents were attributable to smoking, which is a rate of 2,318 per 100,000 of the population. There is an upwards trend in smoking attributable admissions in Wakefield.

This measure and the mortality measures further down the page use directly standardised rates (DSRs). You can find out more about what these are in the glossary.

The dashboards below give some more detail about the breakdown and trend in smoking attributable admissions:

Source: HES, NHS Digital, 2020 and ONS mid year population estimates

Source: HES, NHS Digital, 2020 and ONS mid year population estimates

Smoking attributable mortality

Smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable mortality in the UK. As we have a much higher prevalence of smoking in Wakefield, we are significantly higher than the UK average for mortality that is attributable to smoking.

During the three years between 2016 and 2018, it is estimated that approximately one fifth of mortality in Wakefield was attributable to smoking.

The dashboards below give some more detail about the breakdown and trend in smoking attributable mortality.

Source: ONS mortality files and ONS mid year population estimates

Source: ONS mortality files and ONS mid year population estimates

You can explore the geographical differences in smoking prevalence, smoking attributable admissions and smoking attributable mortality below.

Service Provision

In Wakefield, the Yorkshire Smokefree Service, commissioned by Wakefield Council, is helping smokers to quit. The Yorkshire Smokefree Wakefield Service offers a free confidential service for stopping smoking and have clinic locations across the district where smokers wanting to quit can see a stop smoking advisor face to face and get advice and support. The Service also provides support online, over the phone and can offer home visits too if required.

People are three times as likely to quit smoking than by using willpower alone if they use a local stop smoking service.

To contact the Stop Smoking Service in Wakefield go to:

Online: Yorkshire Smokefree
In person: Clinic locations

Or call:

0800 612 0011 free from landlines

0330 660 1166 free from most mobiles

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