Thousands of people have kicked their smoking habit since a ban came into force 10 years ago, figures reveal.

Public Health England has released figures showing 230,000 people have given up smoking in the south west since 2007.

One in five - 20.7 per cent - smoked in the region in 2007 but the latest figure from 2016 shows this has dropped to 14.3 per cent.

In 2007 the government passed a new law which made it illegal for anyone to smoke in an enclosed public place and within the workplace. This ensured that everyone could use the train station, eat in a restaurant or shop without suffering the negative effects of second-hand smoke.

The south west now has the lowest smoking rate in England, and one of the lowest rates of hospital admissions due to smoking.

Russ Moody, tobacco control lead for Public Health England South West said: “The indoor smoking ban in public places was one of the greatest reforms to public health in this country. The move, coupled with quit smoking initiatives such as Stoptober and the work of local authority public health teams, has helped to drastically cut the number of smokers by facilitating quit attempts and smokefree lifestyles. And not only has the health of smokers benefitted but so too has the health of non-smokers who no longer have to breathe second-hand smoke in pubs, restaurants and bars.

“In the South West of England smoking rates continue to fall across the region and are now the lowest on record at less than 15 per cent. Tobacco sales are also in decline as record numbers of people quit smoking. This is good news but there is more work needed to encourage more smokers to kick the habit and give themselves a better chance of staying healthy and avoiding conditions such as lung and oral cancers, coronary heart disease (CHD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and strokes.

“Recent figures on smoking rates revealed more good news with a steep decline in smoking among younger adults with smoking at an all-time low in those aged 18-24 years – this is a huge step toward establishing the first tobacco-free generation.

“I would urge any smoker who is thinking of quitting to make this 10th anniversary the day they plan to quit smoking too. Put simply, quitting really is the best thing any smoker can do for their health.”