A new strategy to help the remaining 18,000 smokers across the local area quit is being launched by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Public Health team.
The number of adult smokers across the district has dropped to a record low of 11.4%, but over the next decade it’s hoped that figure can be halved to achieve a smoke-free generation.
Councillor Rob Appleyard, cabinet member for Adult Services said: “It’s never too late to make quitting smoking worthwhile and Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Stop Smoking team can provide help.
“Our current focus is in supporting the Stoptober campaign, providing smokers with the support and information they need to ‘break up’ with tobacco.
“Stoptober’s free quitting support includes the Stoptober app, Facebook messenger, daily emails, a Personal Quit Plan and Stoptober online communities.
“For more information visit: http://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/stoptober”
Smoking is the most important cause of preventable ill health and premature death in the UK.
Tobacco use or exposure to second-hand smoke is a major risk factor for many diseases such as heart disease, strokes, lung disease, multiple forms of cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and poor immune function, and also adversely affects fertility and maternal health.
The risk of developing dementia is also associated with smoking.
Tobacco use also has an enormous economic cost for individuals and wider society. It’s estimated that each year, smoking in Bath and North East Somerset costs society approximately £35.6m, ranging from health and social care costs to loss of productivity in the workplace due to smoking-related sick days and the costs associated with dealing with household fires and street litter.
There has been a big improvement in smoking rates across Bath and North East Somerset over the past five years, with:
- The number of adults who smoke dropping by almost five per cent to 11.4%;
- The number of pregnant women who smoke dropping to 7.5 %;
- The number of secondary school-age children and young people who smoke reducing from 5% to 3%.
With the number of smokers across Bath and North East Somerset continuing to drop, the council’s Public Health Team believes a smoke-free generation is within reach and plans to reduce uptake and improve people’s chances of quitting by providing diverse stop smoking support.
Councillor Rob Appleyard, cabinet member for Adult Services, added: “We know that four out of ten smokers want to quit and a third try each year.
“However, only a very small number seek specialist help and as a result four out of five attempts are unsuccessful. I know myself how hard it is, as I gave up 30 years ago.
“We already support people in their journey to become smoke free, for example through our Stop Smoking Service which provides confidential support and advice, but if we are to achieve a smoke-free generation and improve the health of our residents we need to do more.
“We know that smoking rates are higher in socioeconomically deprived areas and among certain groups such as those with severe mental illness or substance misuse issues, traveller communities and people who are LGBTQ.
“We need to ensure these communities signposted to the support services available and encouraged to access them.
“I believe our new strategy will help more people quit and I’m hugely optimistic that we’ll achieve a smoke free generation by 2030.”
The strategy contains a number of recommendations including:
Priority 1: Reduce uptake
- Making smoking unappealing to smokers and non-smokers
- Enforcement of smoke-free regulations
- Promotion of smoke-free environments (including smoke-free homes)
- Reduce the use of illegal tobacco
Priority 2: Improving people’s success of quitting
- Communicate hope and install belief that annual quit attempts are a great way to encourage smokers to try to quit at least once a year.
- Determining how best to increase our engagement with smokers
- Communication and engagement through all council services
Priority 3: Increasing the success of smokers’ quit attempts and preventing relapse
- Provide diverse stop smoking support
- Offer specialist stop smoking services
- Treating tobacco dependency in the NHS setting
- Telephone / app and online support
- Communication about quitting aids including e-cigarettes
In addition to adopting the new tobacco strategy, the council’s Health and Wellbeing Board has also responded to the Government’s green paper consultation on health prevention in the 2020s by:
- Endorsing plans to change the legal age of the sale of tobacco from 18 to 21;
- Backing a proposal to impose a levy on tobacco companies to raise funds for smoking cessation and prevention activities;
- Supporting plans to require manufacturers and importers of tobacco products to include government-mandated pack inserts to support quitting.
For more detail on B&NES Tobacco Control Strategy 2019-2024, visit: www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/smoke-free-bnes-tobacco-control.