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Investigating a community where smoking rates are double the national average

Researchers from The University of Nottingham are taking to the streets of Aspley in Nottingham to understand why smoking rates there are nearly twice the national average.

Reducing high levels of smoking is a priority for the City of Nottingham which ranks third highest in the country after Corby and Hull.

Ann McNeill, from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies and Professor in Health Policy and Promotion at The University of Nottingham who is leading the research said: "Stopping smoking is probably the single most important thing a smoker can do to improve their health, and in the current climate, save money. We are interested in finding out why residents in Aspley are bucking the trend and continuing to smoke as well as what can be done in partnership with the community, to introduce long term solutions to reduce their smoking rates".

The study, which is being carried out by the School of Community Health Sciences, was commissioned by NHS Nottingham City and will be carried out in collaboration with their staff and Nottingham City Council. The first stage of the research will take place between March and October this year.

Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, Deputy Director of Public Health at NHS Nottingham City said: "We have a very high level of smoking in Nottingham, ranking third highest in the country after Corby and Hull. We know that people who live in less well-off areas tend to smoke much more than those who live in wealthy areas. The problem is that smoking accounts for half of the reason why a man in Wollaton can expect to live 10 years more than a man in Aspley or St. Ann's. That's why reducing smoking is a priority for the City."

Over 100 interviews, lasting up to 15 minutes, will be carried out on the streets of Aspley. Over a 160 people smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers will then be recruited to attend focus group meetings to discuss the issues raised in the street interviews in more detail and explore potential solutions.

The aim is to understand what local factors are playing a role in the high levels of smoking and involve key members of the community and local networks in trying to solve the problem.

After discussing the high levels of smoking with local residents, researchers will carry out interviews with professionals working in the health sector, local business, hospitality, service and retail sectors, the media and the public sectors. In particular, they want to talk to people who may be in a position to influence change, such as local doctors, dentists, pharmacists, midwives, health visitors, practice managers, local retailers, local public house managers, local business managers, local councillors and people running community initiatives.

All the information they gather will be confidential and no participant will be identifiable.


Contact: Lindsay Brooke
University of Nottingham

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