WIGAN Council has pledged to continue its efforts to reduce the number of smokers in the borough.

Lord Peter Smith, leader of the council, has signed the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control, which outlines the commitment the council has to reducing tobacco use.

The council has also detailed and signed an additional commitment as part of The Deal for Health and Wellness to further tackle tobacco use in the borough.

The developments come as part of Wellfest, a festival aimed at encouraging people to look after their health and wellbeing by trying something that will benefit their physical or mental health.

Great strides have already been taken in reducing the amount of smokers in the borough, with the number of adults smoking at 17.7 per cent, which is in the national average range.

Targeted quit services have also helped to reduce the number of women smoking, which has dropped by 5.1 per cent since 2010-11 to 14.8 per cent.

There are also fewer smokers aged 16 and below in the borough compared to the north west average.

The council says it has for a long time been working with partners to provide a variety of support to help people stop smoking.

The Quitpal app from HealthyRoutes offers alternative smoking cessation support.

And the HealthyRoutes shops on the high streets in Leigh and Wigan offer advice and support on quitting smoking outside of a traditional health setting along.

Lord Smith said: “The consequences of smoking on a person’s health have long been known and has impacted on many lives right across the Wigan borough.

“Quitting smoking is one of the simplest ways of improving our borough’s health and reducing health inequalities and we are doing all we can to help people give up smoking for good.

“We have seen fantastic results so far as a result of the innovative way we are offering smoking cessation support.

“Where once we were statistically among one of the areas with the highest proportion of smokers in the country we are now no different to the national average.

“By signing this declaration we recognise that while we have come a long way to helping people transform their health there is still much more to do to encourage people not to smoke.

“By quitting not only will someone get the health benefits but it will also save money, not just for the smoker but also cut down the need for costly medical interventions due to long term conditions like cardiovascular disease and reduce pressures on our health services.”