Added 1 year, 7 months ago.
Councillor Roz Gladden and Dr Paula Grey attended a national conference on 11th October and pledged to join the fight to tackle tobacco harm in Liverpool and make smoking history for children.
The conference was attended by Public Health Minister Anne Milton and leading local authority figures and discussions focused on how they can tackle tobacco in our local communities.
From April 2013 local authorities will be wholly responsible for public health and tackling tobacco will be a key priority. Smoking costs communities hugely, not only in terms of health impacts and costs to the NHS, but also in terms of fires, litter, lost days at work and productivity. A tool that has been developed to calculate the impacts estimates that the cost to Liverpool is £160.1million. This cost broken down can be found at: http://www.ash.org.uk/localtoolkit/R2-NW.html
The government’s Healthy Lives, Healthy People: a tobacco control plan for England sets out clearly the need for a comprehensive approach to tackling tobacco. A range of measures have already been implemented or are being considered. These include:
- Cigarette vending machines legislation to stop easy access for young people (implemented 1st October)
- Point of sale displays legislation which comes in next Spring
- A commitment to consulting on plain packaging for tobacco products
- Preventing the promotion of tobacco though entertainment media
Dr Paula Grey, Director of Public Health for Liverpool said: “Tackling tobacco across communities in Liverpool needs to be a priority, not only to protect the health of children but also to make substantial savings and help our local economy.”
Cllr Roz Gladden, Liverpool City Council cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “The costs of smoking to the city can be calculated in economic terms, but its costs in terms of suffering is incalculable both for individual smokers and their families. We will prioritise tackling tobacco and look to the Government to support our efforts with the funding it requires.”
Minister for Public Health, Anne Milton said: “Smoking remains one of our biggest public health challenges. Much progress has been made but we need to re invigorate efforts at all levels including persuading people not to ever start smoking - local authorities are ideally placed to do this. The creation of Public Health England will also help achieve this.":
"I congratulate the Local Government Group for putting this important conference together".
Tobacco Free Futures hosted a breakfast meeting prior to the main conference specifically for North West councillors which included speakers such as pioneer Professor Gerard Hastings. Professor Hastings called on local councillors to push the boundaries on what local powers are available to them and to look further than the government’s plan to ensure that children in their local communities are protected from tobacco harm.
He said: “Less than 3% of doctors now smoke; no one is going to convince me that factory workers, electricians, call centre workers, nurses, and the unemployed are any less capable of walking away from this lethal habit. They just need the right encouragement and support. Local authorities, who have always been at the forefront of enlightened social change, should pick up the mantel and lead people on this short and empowering walk to freedom.
“And in their child protection role, local authorities should do everything possible to shield young people from the tobacco industry; 85% of new smokers are children. A century ago local authorities acted to stop children being sent up chimneys, now they should act to stop them being turned into chimneys. “
Julie Webster, Chair of Tobacco Free Futures, said: “We have made enormous progress with the fight against tobacco with the rates of 14 year-olds having over the last two year but there is still so much more to be done. It’s important that local areas are given the powers to implement measures to protect their local population and it’s also important that we collaborate and work together to make sure the government continue to be brave in its approach to protecting children and young people from tobacco. I think the Minister attending the conference today is a strong indicator of how important tackling tobacco is to public health.”
Cllr Linda Thomas, Deputy Chair, LG Group Community Wellbeing Programme Board said: “Councils have long been at the heart of tackling problems associated with smoking, both in terms of trading standards and environmental health teams cracking down on illegal sales and public health staff helping people kick the habit or encouraging them not to start in the first place.
“With the abolition of primary care trusts by 2013, councils will take the full lead on reducing smoking. Public heath is at the heart of what we do and this is a role we’re happy to take on, but it’s vital we’re given adequate funding from Government to do the job properly."
Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Jonathan Couriel from Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust said: “Adult smoking is an important cause of serious illness and death in children. Parents who smoke during pregnancy, and after their child has been born, jeopardise their child’s health. In the UK, there are almost a 1000 GP visits and hospital admissions each day for childhood illness caused by adults smoking. All of these effects are avoidable. All of us responsible for the health of children need to work to support parents’ giving up smoking.”