Thursday 11 June 2015

City leaders are today calling on tobacco giants to pay the costs all local authorities and health boards face to try and reduce smoking rates.

Sheffield City Council is supporting a national report which is calling on the Government to impose an annual levy on tobacco companies.

Smoking is a major cause of health inequalities within Sheffield with almost a sixth of the adult population in the city still smoking.

It kills around 900 people a year in Sheffield alone.

It also poses a significant burden to the local economy, with costs reaching around £129.6 million. This is due to lost productivity, premature deaths, treatment for smoking related diseases, and waste collection of cigarette litter.

A levy on the tobacco companies would pay for evidence-based tobacco control and stop smoking services, which could save tens of thousands of lives over the next decade nationally and play a key role in helping to reduce costs to the NHS from preventable ill health.

A new report – Smoking Still Kills, published by ASH today which is leading the calls for the Government to act – has revealed that every year smoking costs the NHS at least £2 billion, with a further £10.8 billion in wider costs to society, including social care costs of over £1 billion.

The research also reveals that in England over 1.7 million households who live below the poverty line include an adult that smokes. If they quit, it is estimated that over half a million households in England would be lifted out of poverty.

Supporting the move, Sheffield City Council’s Director of Public Health Stephen Horsley said the council is “totally committed” to reducing smoking rates in the city and fully supports the call for a new government strategy to replace the Tobacco Control Plan for England which runs to the end of 2015.

He said: “There is a huge cost to society due to smoking and smoking related illnesses, but ultimately it is loved ones and families who bear the real cost of losing relatives far too early.

“That is why we are supporting the proposed levy on tobacco companies to pay for reducing smoking rates. Tobacco companies make significant profits from the sale of their products therefore it is absolutely right that they should pay to address the harms they cause.”

He added evidence from other countries which have already introduced such measures have achieved on-going reductions in smoking.

Further information:

Smoking Still Kills calls for:

  1. A new vision for the country with ambitious target of achieving five per cent smoking rate by 2035: No one should be left behind as we achieve a tobacco free future and health inequalities must not be allowed to widen.
  2. A new comprehensive five-year Government tobacco strategy for England: Comprehensive approach is vital – 70,000 lives have been saved due to falling smoking rates since the 1998, the first comprehensive government strategy on tobacco, Smoking Kills.
  3. A new approach to funding, annual levy on tobacco companies to fund tobacco control: Tobacco companies make over £1bn in profit in the UK and the harms from smoking to society are significant.
  4. A comprehensive package of measures: taken together the recommendations in this report are designed to set us on the path to a smoke free future by 2035.

Sheffield City Council commissions a comprehensive programme of tobacco control with a range of activity in place to reduce the number of children and young people, adults and pregnant women who smoke in the city including:

  • A citywide Stop Smoking Service – prioritising action amongst certain population groups, who are most likely to smoke including the routine and manual workforce, residents from deprived areas, patients with a diagnosed metal health condition and BME communities.
  • Community development action and enforcement action to reduce availability and supply of illicit tobacco.
  • Smoke free Spaces Service- promoting and extending Smoke free environments, protecting families and children from secondhand smoke. Delivering a citywide Smoke free Homes and Cars Pledge Programme.
  • Children and Young People – Primary Prevention Service, delivering a whole school approach to tobacco control in secondary schools across the city. Stopping the inflow of young people being recruited as smokers.
  • A Specialist Midwifery Stop Smoking Service to support pregnant women to quit smoking-protecting babies and families, from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.
  • Smoking in Pregnancy Relapse Prevention Service –the service supports women to remain Smoke free prior to, during and after pregnancy

Please visit https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/caresupport/health/lifestyle/stop-smoking.html
for more information and contact details of each service.