Create an environment that supports people to stop smoking for good
What's driving this?
The success of universal measures such as the indoor smoking ban proves how much the environment influences smoking behaviour, shaping the extent to which smoking is accepted as normal amongst our friends, family and wider society. The availability of illicit tobacco at a lower price undermines government commitments to make tobacco less affordable and can also act as a low-cost trigger to relapse. We need to know more about specific local issues for both cigarettes and e-cigarettes. New technologies such as e-cigarettes are now viewed as an acceptable part of harm reduction approaches at a national policy level. E-cigarettes are the nation's most popular quit method and can protect against returning to the known health harms from cigarettes. However, public and professional opinions and beliefs about the acceptability of this stance vary. There has been a lack of clear information to help the public reach an informed decision and many people continue to smoke as well as vape (dual use).
Objectives and key actions
Open up dialogue on novel tobacco products and e-cigarettes and their place within tobacco control strategy
- Respond to new guidance from Public Health England and NICE as it is published. Work closely with partners to develop approaches to e-cigarettes and new forms of tobacco that are based on local risk assessment, harm reduction principles, and the most up to date evidence
- Promote sources of balanced advice about e-cigarettes, building on forthcoming publications from Public Health England. Information for the public and professionals should include advice about health risks compared to smoking and not smoking, nicotine addiction, how to purchase and use the safest products, how to report sales of illicit e-cigarettes, and a reminder about the laws against vaping for under 18s
- Maintain information sharing between partner organisations to encourage a harmonised approach to this issue as far as possible, and reduce confusion caused by different policies and health messages. Extend this to include a Cheshire and Merseyside perspective if appropriate
- Develop an e-cigarette friendly stop smoking service. This means that people who smoke or smoke and vape, and would like to include e-cigarettes as part of a quit attempt can access the service
- Set up data collection to help improve our understanding of e-cigarette use locally
- Closely monitor developments towards a prescribable e-cigarette (anticipated but not currently available)
- Make the best use of regulatory powers and sanctions within the resources available. This will help ensure local e-cigarette retailers are compliant with the law on under-age sales, only sell regulations compliant products and follow best practice in order to limit the appeal of vaping to young people
- Engage with vape shops to deliver stop smoking advice in order to reduce dual use.
Equip local workplaces and businesses with the resources they need to maintain smokefree workplaces and support employees to stop smoking
- Work with locality teams, district advisory panels, business improvement districts and the voluntary sector to engage local businesses around developing smoking and vaping policy that helps employees quit for good, and to promote local and national campaigns e.g. Stoptober
- Frame advice and guidance around NICE guideline PH5 (Smoking: workplace interventions)
- Consider extending support more widely, e.g. through the workplace wellbeing charter initiative or similar
- Explore the application of behaviour change theory to enable organisations and businesses to develop more smokefree outdoor spaces and continue work with educational, leisure and sports organisations.