Latest ONS report shows rise in Smokers in Tamworth, as experts warn Gateway Drug fuels ‘harder’ addiction

Tuesday, 20th March 2018

THIS week’s Office of National Statistics report – Smoking inequalities in England, 2016 – shows that around 6.3 million people aged 18 and over in England smoked in 2016, and that in Tamworth in particular, the percentage of smokers is on the rise.

In Tamworth, 12% of the population smoked in 2015, rising to almost 17% in 2016 according to latest ONS figures.

The news comes as a concern to Dr. Derrani, Group Medical Advisor and Consultant Psychiatrist at the UK’s leading addiction treatment firm UKAT.

“Nicotine is what is known as a Gateway Drug. It’s a stimulant that releases the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter Dopamine, which in turn, produces physical and mood-altering effects in the brain that are temporarily pleasing. In the long-term, stopping smoking causes withdrawal symptoms like irritability, anxiety, reduced concentration, increased hunger and at times, anger and disturbed sleep.

“Although the general public does not classify smoking in line with the other drugs associated with addiction, the consequences and effects on health are no different, and in some cases, more lethal.”

Eytan Alexander, Founder of UKAT, is himself in recovery from addiction, and started smoking at the age of 11, and was regularly gambling a year later.“The vast majority of people treated across our 7 UK rehab centres for drug and/or alcohol addiction also smoke cigarettes.“In most cases, smoking was the precursor to the other substances our patients went on to try and ultimately become addicted to.

“Today’s ONS figures paint a worrying picture that if smoking is on the rise in areas like Tamworth, we could see a rise in substance abuse and dependency.”

80,000 people die from smoking every year, and it is one of the most common causes of heart disease, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and various cancers of the throat, mouth and lung.

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This article was supplied to Tamworth Informed by Claire Havey.