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Views wanted on city’s new stop smoking strategy

21 November 2016

A public consultation is set to be launched tomorrow (Tuesday 22 November) to gather people’s views on Sheffield’s future approach to cutting the number of people who smoke.

The vision for the Tobacco Control Strategy, which will run from 2017 to 2022, is to create a smoke-free city where people live longer and healthier lives, where children think smoking is unusual, and where young people don’t take up smoking in the first place.

At present, while good progress is being made on tackling tobacco, there are still around 79,200 people who smoke in Sheffield – and tobacco kills approximately 16 people a week in the city.

The World Health Organisation recommends that a comprehensive programme of tobacco control is adopted in order to effectively reduce the number of smokers.

This includes supporting smokers to quit, preventing children from starting to smoke in the first place, increasing the awareness of the dangers of smoking, removing cheap and illicit tobacco from our communities and extending smoke-free environments to protect people from the harm caused by second-hand smoke.

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “Smoking is still the biggest killer, the biggest burden to public health and a major cause of health inequalities.

“We want to reduce smoking prevalence in line with other world leaders in this area. Places such as New York, California and Australia, for example, have implemented extensive tobacco control programmes and as a result have seen impressive reductions in their smoking prevalence compared to England.

“In order to do this we need to build on what is already in place and fund a wide-ranging tobacco control programme that focuses on prevention, policy measures and quitting. We have reviewed what is needed locally, as well as the evidence as to what really works when it comes to helping people to stop smoking – and preventing them from starting in the first place.

“Unfortunately, since 2015 there have been reductions in the level of funding available for local authorities to spend on public health. Therefore we are unable to fund everything to the level we would like, and need to prioritise interventions that will deliver the largest public health benefit.”

In Sheffield the budget for tobacco control is £1.1m and, currently, 60 per cent of this budget funds stop smoking services and 40 per cent funds wider tobacco control work.

The city council is proposing to move £220,000 from stop smoking services into prevention work. This would involve working with all secondary schools in the city as well as some primary schools, increasing the number of outdoor smoke-free sites and events, and increasing the investment in communication and media campaigns targeting those who find it the most difficult to quit.

Sheffield City Council is asking for people’s views and opinions so that responses can inform the future shape of the strategy. The consultation will go live tomorrow and run for six weeks, closing on 2 January 2017.

To have your say, visit the council’s online consultation hub at https://sheffield.citizenspace.com/