HELP to stop smoking in Wiltshire has received continuing funding from Wiltshire Council, bucking a trend in the South West that has seen investment fall by a third since 2014.

Although it does not have a dedicated stop smoking service, Public Health initiatives run by the council include a specialist stop smoking advisor, who can work with adults wanting to become smoke free.

Anti smoking charity Action on Smoking Health (ASH) say local authorities across the South West have faced Public Health funding cuts after £200m was taken out of the Central Government funding pot, squeezing on preventative services.

The charity says spending per smoker has also fallen by 26 per cent, from £14.63 per smoker in 2014 to £10.87 per smoker in 2017.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “Through great partnership working and effective support to stop smoking, 86 per cent of Wiltshire’s population and over 90 per cent of young people are now non-smokers. There is still more work to do and we are committed to promoting the benefits of not smoking and helping people get the right support.

“Last year, to support the publication of the national tobacco control plan for England, we established a multi-agency tobacco control alliance and developed a local plan to continue to drive down smoking prevalence. Although smoking prevalence in the general population is low, smoking prevalence for those in routine and manual occupations and the military are still high at as much as 30 per cent in some cases.

“We commission smoking cessations services from GP practices and pharmacies across the county and our health trainer programme also provides support to those that want to quit.”

Kruti Shrotri from Cancer Research UK said: “The UK Government needs to reverse its cuts to public health budgets in England.

"Too many people still die from smoking, and we know that most smokers want to quit. Smokers in disadvantaged circumstances generally find quitting harder but are around three times more likely to quit successfully with the help of stop smoking services. We can’t deny those most in need of vital help that could save their life.”.Smoking is the cause of 600 premature deaths in Wiltshire each year, say the charity.