Smoking in Adults


  • Around 1 in 5 adults in Wakefield district are smokers (17.9%), according to the national annual population survey (2017).
  • Smoking prevalence in Wakefield district has fallen in recent years.
  • Approximately 21% of deaths in Wakefield are attributable to smoking.
  • Around 4,700 hospital admissions each year are attributable to smoking.
  • There are large inequalities in smoking prevalence, with high prevalence in people living in deprived areas (40%), in young men (44%) and in the “white other” ethnic group (37%).

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 (34.3%). There are currently an estimated 67,800 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 2017/18 17.7% 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 visit our maternal behaviours section: Maternal Behaviours.

The Challenges

Using the national annual population survey figures, we can see that Wakefield has a significantly higher level of smoking (17.9%) than the national average (14.9%). Whilst the prevalence of smoking has fallen from 25.1% in 2012 to 17.9% in 2017, 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 £114.6 million a year.

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, men are more likely to smoke than women and smoking is more prevalent in the younger sections of the adult population.

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 (34.4%), Wakefield East (32.6%) and Normanton (32.1%) are amongst the areas with the highest smoking prevalence rates.

The dashboard below demonstrates some of the differences in estimated smoking prevalence across different age groups, genders, deprivation and wards in Wakefield district. 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

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 2014/15 locally calculated figures suggest that around 4,700 hospital admissions by Wakefield residents were attributable to smoking, which is a rate of 2,455 per 100,000 of the population. The rate of smoking attributable admissions is increasing each year 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: SUS, ONS population estimates

Source: SUS, ONS 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 2013 and 2015, 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, ONS population estimates

Source: ONS mortality files, ONS population estimates

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

Service Provision

  • South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Stop Smoking Service is a dedicated team of ‘Specialist Advisers’ who will provide free intensive support for smokers wanting to quit. The support offered will include advice and recommendations of smoking cessation medications in conjunction with behavioural support.
  • The Stop Smoking Service is clinically proven to be the most effective way of quitting. Quitters are 4 times more likely to succeed with clinical support from the NHS Stop Smoking Service.

There are a number of options available to clients to access advice and support:
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Stop Smoking Service provides free support to all smokers and access to recommended pharmacotherapy.

Contact: 01977 465449 or 0800 612 0011
Online: Yorkshire Smokefree
In person: Clinic locations

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