SMOKING rates in York reached a record low last year, new figures show.

And a doctor in the city said this is a great sign for public health in the area.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show 8.7 per cent of adults in York smoked in 2022 – down from 9.2 per cent the year before and the lowest rate since records began for the area in 2012.

It follows trends across England, where the national rate of smokers reached 12.7 per cent, the lowest level on record.

Dr David Fair, of the Jorvik Medical Group in York, said: "It's great for public health that rates of smoking are declining rapidly as cigarette smoking is extremely dangerous causing the premature death of about half of all people who smoke - and also kills many innocent people who don't smoke.

"The legacy of cigarette smoking will live on another 20-30 years at least as unfortunately for some people the fatal effects may develop a long time after quitting."

Across the UK, smoking among adults also fell to its lowest level of 12.9 per cent last year – a drop on the 13.3 per cent reported in 2021.

James Tucker, head of health analysis at the ONS, said the figure is "consistent with the continuing trend towards a decline in smoking prevalence over recent years".

The data also revealed men in the UK were more likely to smoke, with 14.6 per cent using cigarettes in 2022 compared to 11.2 per cent of women.

Similarly, men in York were slightly more likely to be smokers at 8.9 per cent compared to 8.6 per cent of women in the area last year.

The ONS figures also showed 5.2 per cent of people aged over 16 used e-cigarettes daily in 2022, up from 4.9 per cent in 2021.

Deborah Arnott, ASH chief executive, said the growth in vaping among adult smokers and ex-smokers was welcome as vaping is a "very successful" aid to quitting smoking.

However, she added there is a worrying growth in vaping among teens and young adults with 15.5 per cent of young people aged 16 to 24 years vaping daily or occasionally last year.

She said: "The Government’s response to the consultation on youth vaping due imminently must contain concrete measures to prohibit child-friendly branding and put products out of sight and out of reach in shops, as well as a tax on the pocket money priced disposable vapes most popular with children."

The Department of Health and Social Care said it is looking to "balance the public health opportunities vaping offers to smokers, while protecting young people and non-smokers from using them".