Tobacco Control Strategy
Where are we now?
Compared to other council areas in the North West, Cheshire West and Chester performs well on key smoking indicators. Overall adult smoking rates are one of the lowest in the region at 11.34 per cent, approximately 31,125 adults. However, this rate is not uniform across Cheshire West and Chester. For example:
- Smoking prevalence is highest in Blacon, Ellesmere Port and Winsford amongst people living on low incomes
- More than 11.6 per cent of women smoke throughout pregnancy (2021/2022 figures)
- 5 per cent of 15 year olds are already regular smokers (2018 figures)
- Smoking prevalence in adults within routine and manual occupation (18-64) (current smokers) is 22.9 per cent (2020 figures)1 2
With these figures in mind, it is clear that strategic action on tobacco dependence is necessary to advance the aims of Cheshire West and Chester's Place Plan and Health and Wellbeing Strategy. More widely smoking cessation is seen as a key tool within the Core20PLUS5 programme and the NHS Long Term Plan.
Smoking is harmful and costly. There is the human cost of illness, fires, premature death and poverty, the cost to our health and social care services and the environmental costs from littering. The headlines below clearly illustrate the economic consequences of local smoking within Cheshire West and Chester.
- Smokers in west Cheshire spend roughly £60.55 million on tobacco products each year
- Each year there are approximately 2,500 hospital admissions for smoking related conditions
- The total annual cost of smoking to the NHS across west Cheshire is about £16.39 million
- 60.88 million of potential wealth is lost from the local economy in west Cheshire each year as a result of lost productivity due to smoking
- Many current/formers smokers require care in later life as a result of smoking-related illnesses. Each year this costs society in west Cheshire an additional £8.4 million
- 15 tonnes of waste produced mainly in the form of cigarette stubs each year
- It is estimated that Cheshire Combined Fire and Rescue Authority will attend approximately 12 smoking relate house fires each year in west Cheshire costing an estimated £1.51 million
What are we currently doing?
Brio Leisure CIC operate the smoking cessation service on behalf of the Council. The service is open to all residents aged 12 and over either living or registered with a GP within Cheshire West and Chester. Residents can either self-refer into the service or be referred via their GP or health care professional
The Tobacco Control Forum - The Cheshire and Merseyside partners, including Public Health teams, NHS trusts, pharmacies and the Integrated Care Board (ICB) are working to share best practice across the region supporting the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan
Smoking in Pregnancy - Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Partnership are working with the acute hospital trusts, local authorities and local smoking cessation services to implement the maternity pathway contained within the NHS Long Term Plan. It is hoped that an in-house smoking cessation service for pregnant women will be developed providing consistent support throughout and beyond their pregnancy
Smoking in Pregnancy – maternity services are screening all pregnant women for carbon monoxide via CO monitors at all antenatal appointments. Delivering advice and making referrals into the smoking cessation service at every opportunity
Cheshire Smoke Free Working Group – focussing on local problems and local solutions, such as working with trading standards around illicit sale
A recent review into Tobacco and the Environment by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) looked at the global picture with regards to tobacco production and its impact on our climate as well as our health. It concluded that tobacco cultivation was not sustainable due to its harmful impacts including; pollution, soil degradation and deforestation. These all contribute to adverse climate change and biodiversity losses.
Studies have also shown that high levels of natural resources are required in the cultivation, drying, manufacturing, packaging and transportation of tobacco based products.
The research into the adverse effects of the tobacco industry both locally, nationally and globally show the importance of strategies aimed at dissuading the uptake of smoking and reducing tobacco consumption levels4.