Tobacco Control Strategy
Fewer people in Cheshire West and Chester smoke than ever before, but smoking remains the leading cause of preventable ill-health in the borough. That is why reducing smoking is recognised as a key objective within our Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
Our understanding of local tobacco control priorities and the evidence around high impact changes has never been better. Over the next five years we want to see more than 4,000 of our most dependent smokers put tobacco use behind them forever. Our long-term ambition is to achieve a smokefree generation where fewer than 1 in 20 adults smoke by 2030.
We do not underestimate the impact that smoking continues to have on the lives of thousands of local residents. While smoking rates in the general population have fallen to around one in nine (11.7per cent), those in certain groups and areas have remained stubbornly higher at close to one in four (25.6 per cent). Each year smoking is the cause of more than 3,000 hospital admissions and around 800 deaths within Cheshire West and Chester. Thousands more people continue to live with long-term health conditions caused by smoking, reducing their quality of life and independence. Smoking remains the single biggest contributor to the 10 year (men) and 8.7 year (women) difference in life expectancy which separates our most affluent and most disadvantaged communities, and is also a factor in maintaining many families in poverty.
Prevention is at the heart of new policy approaches in health and social care. This five year strategy sets out the clear steps we will take as a Council, as health organisations and as other community and voluntary partners to reduce smoking. The opportunities to come together around a genuinely collective strategy are stronger than ever.
Our actions will drive change on three fronts:
- Preventing young people from taking up smoking and protecting them from second hand smoke
- Ensuring a range of support is available to help people quit, whilst narrowing the smoking gap. This means taking action to address the much higher smoking rates we see in our more deprived communities compared to the rest to the borough
- Creating an environment that provides the best chance of quitting forever.
We are clear on where we want to focus our energy and see the biggest changes, for example targeting smoking in pregnancy, amongst people with mental health conditions, and tackling the high rates of smoking linked to poverty and deprivation. Guided by the Government's new tobacco control strategy, we will also address new needs arising from recent innovations, e.g. e-cigarettes, recognising the role they play for many as an aid to stopping smoking.