Fewer Somerset 16 year olds smoke than the national average but the habit still killed 811 people in the county last year. The figures come from the Local Authority Health Profiles for England and show almost 20% of people in Somerset above the age of 16 smoke, compared to 22% nationally. However, the same report shows a shocking 811 people died in 2010 from smoking related diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.

Laura Ridout from Somerset's NHS Stop Smoking Service, said: "Whilst fewer people over 16 are taking up the smoking habit than the national average, we still have lots more to do in Somerset. The more people who quit smoking the fewer deaths we can expect to see year.

"For those smokers who want to quit we would recommend contacting the Somerset NHS Stop Smoking Service. Our services are free and offer friendly, practical and supportive advice at times and places that are convenient for you."

NHS Somerset has been working in partnership with Smokefree South West, the regional organisation set up to drive down smoking rates and tobacco-related harm in the region.

Fiona Andrews, Director of Smokefree South West, said: "We know that smoking is still the biggest preventable killer, and more work needs to be done to raise awareness of the harm caused by tobacco, encourage smokers to quit, and reduce the uptake of smoking among children.

"We work very closely with local NHS Stop Smoking Services. Research has shown that smokers using the NHS Stop Smoking Service are giving themselves the best chance to quit and with many locations across Somerset such as pharmacies, GP surgeries and workplaces, there is free help and support near you.

If Somerset smokers want to know how they can get advice and support to quit, contact the NHS Stop Smoking Service, please text 'LOCAL' and your postcode to 88088

Or telephone the Somerset NHS Stop Smoking Service on: 0303 033 9840, or visit our web site at: www.somersetstopsmokingsomerset.nhs Source: NHS Communications (Somerset)

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