Smoking costs York's economy £120 million a year in lost productivity and healthcare costs - as well as causing 200 deaths a year, figures have revealed.

Now City of York Council has revealed plans to spend a £196,000 grant from the Department of Health and Social Care in a bid to reduce smoking rates in the city.

A report submitted to an Executive meeting on Thursday, May 9, says the grant will be spent on reducing smoking in York for the year 2024 to 2025, a drive which will continue until 2029.

The council says that around 14,600 York residents still smoke.

Peter Roderick, the council director of public health, said in the report: "Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and illness in York, with 8.7 per cent of the York adult population currently smoking – around 14,600 individuals."

Mr Roderick said the council's goal was to reduce smoking by five per cent for all population groups.

In 2022 to 2023, the free health trainer service in York supported 245 residents in their bid to quit smoking, with 75 per cent of participants successfully giving up. The success rate makes York's health trainer service the fourth best local authority service in England.


Data shows that smoking rates in York differ depending on a person's profession, with 6.7 per cent of those in managerial and professional roles smoking, but a far higher 15.2 per cent in routine and manual roles smoking.

Figures also vary against housing type, with four per cent of those who own a mortgage smoking compared to 30.3 per cent of those in social or rented housing.

Smoking rates are also higher in other demographics, such as adults with a long-term mental health condition, at 20.9 per cent, those seeking treatment for opiate substance misuse, at 43.8 per cent, and those of Gypsy or Traveller ethnicity, at 45 per cent.

The new funding has allowed City of York Council to improve the health trainer service, with an additional two and a half full-time equivalent health trainers employed.

"The additional capacity within the service will allow for a much greater presence within community locations," added Mr Roderick.

At the meeting on May 9, council executives are asked to approve the use of the Government grant.

The approval will include the expansion of the council’s stop smoking support, the expansion of treatments and the offer of additional stop smoking medications, additional community outreach to smokers, and increased communications to increase quitting rates in York.