Rise in smoking rates in Aberdeenshire last year
More people have taken up smoking in Aberdeenshire over the past year, figures suggest, though the proportion of smokers is lower than the UK average.
Campaign group Action on Smoking Health Scotland said they welcomed the reports that smoking rates have decreased across the country, but said their job is not done yet.
The Office for National Statistics estimates 12.0% of adults in Aberdeenshire smoked in 2019.
This was an increase on the year before, when 11.5% of those aged 18 and over smoked.
It was a different picture across the rest of the UK, where the proportion of smokers has fallen every year since 2011, reaching a record low of 14.1% in 2019.
Scotland saw the biggest drop in smoking rates of all four UK countries, down from 16.3% to 15.4% – but there are still around 638,000 smokers in the country.
Anti-smoking charity ASH said the Scottish Government and the NHS have worked hard to support those who want to break their smoking habit.
Sheila Duffy, chief executive at ASH Scotland, said: "We welcome any reports that suggest smoking rates have decreased.
"If we see this decline over a few years, we will be even more delighted.
"However, the job is not yet done and support for cessation services must continue in order for Scotland to achieve its goal of being smoke-free by 2034."
The Scottish Government has set a target of creating a tobacco-free generation by 2034, aiming for smoking rates of 5% or less among the adult population.
The ONS estimates a further 24.9% of adults have quit smoking in Aberdeenshire, with the remaining 63.1% saying they had never done so.
Men were more likely to smoke than women – 14.8% of males were smokers, compared to 9.3% of females.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We welcome the fact that the ONS figures show a continued and sustained drop in smoking levels in Scotland.
“These statistics reveal that smoking rates are falling faster in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK.
“Positive changes are being made, but we are not complacent and remain committed to creating a tobacco-free generation by 2034.”