Councils and health bosses sign pledge to tackle smoking

Give up smoking

Posted on: 3 September 2015

Councils and health organisations have joined together in a bid to tackle smoking in the North Devon and Torridge districts,  by signing up to the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control.

North Devon Council, Torridge District Council and Northern Devon Health Trust have signed up to the statement of intent to do all it can to help reduce smoking rates among its communities as well as highlighting the harm smoking causes. These latest signatories joins others across Devon and nationally, in taking comprehensive action to address the matter. This could include work to prevent people from starting smoking in the first place, early diagnosis of smoking related diseases and providing people with advice and support to quit.

Signing the declaration shows a commitment to the health, welfare, social, economic and environmental benefits that come from reducing smoking prevalence.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor Des Brailey, said: “I am very pleased to sign this declaration on behalf of North Devon Council. It is very sad that smoking is the cause of so much illness in our communities, so we will be investigating ways in which we can help promote Public Health’s campaign to stop smoking. We will be looking for opportunities to work with partners to tackle smoking in North Devon as part of our Health and Wellbeing portfolio.” Torridge’s Lead Member for Health & Wellbeing, Councillor Betty Boundy said: “I am delighted that Torridge District Council has signed this declaration. This is not necessarily about banning smoking, but helping in as many ways as possible to raise awareness of the side effects of smoking and help to protect our children.

“We need to consider not only the negative effects on health but also the positive welfare, social, economic and environmental benefits that come from reducing smoking prevalence. I am pleased that we have added Torridge’s name to the many Councils across the country that have chosen to actively support this worthwhile campaign.”

Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health Devon, said:  “Smoking is still the biggest cause of premature death and disease in Devon and more adversely affects smokers from poorer communities.  Around 1,200 people die prematurely across the county every year due to smoking-related diseases.

“Despite a general decline in smoking, just under one in five of all adults in Devon smoke, costing public services and the local economy around £200m every year, including the cost to the NHS, to employers in terms of lost productivity due to sick days and smoking breaks; house fires, clearing up litter and the effects of second hand smoke. Helping people to stop smoking is one of our top health and wellbeing priorities.”

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, welcomed the latest signatures to the growing sign up across Devon.

Councillor Davis said:  “It is great news that North Devon and Torridge Councils and Northern Devon Healthcare Trust have added their signatures to this declaration, which has strong support from the wider public health community including the Trading Standards Association, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Association of Directors of Public Health as well as Public Health England, the Minister for Public Health and the Chief Medical Officer.”

Posted in: Health and Wellbeing