usiness leaders and employees are urged to play their part in a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve health in Cheshire West and Chester.
Fewer people in Cheshire West and Chester smoke than ever before but, sadly, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable ill-health and early death. It currently kills around 64,000 people in the UK each year, with many more people experiencing poor health which comes at a huge cost to both the NHS and employers.
Estimates suggest that smoking costs businesses in Cheshire West approximately £129.2 million pounds annually in lost productivity (Action for Smoking and Health).
In recent years there also has been an increase in the number of young people vaping. The use of e-cigarettes to help people stop smoking has been acknowledged by experts as an effective aid for those who currently smoke however, national guidance is that people who do not smoke, should not vape.
Smoking remains an addiction which is largely taken up in childhood, with most smokers starting as teenagers. Discouraging young people from smoking and vaping remains a priority for the government and the Council.
As you may have seen in the news over recent weeks the government has proposed some important legislative changes with regards to smoking and youth vaping. The four key headline proposals are:
- The first smokefree generation
- Supporting people to quit
- Youth vaping
- Strengthening enforcement
- A UK wide consultation opened on 12 October 2023: Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping.
Dr Helen Bromley, the Director of Public Health for Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a real difference to inequalities and transform health for all of us.
“I would encourage everyone to take the time to read the historic package of measures in the proposal and respond to the consultation, which is open to anyone, of any age in the UK.
“This is our best chance to reduce the harms caused by smoking and prevent ill-health, disability and death.”
Call to Action: Please respond to the consultation as a business but also share with your employees and partner organisations. You can access the consultation and respond here Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Giving up isn’t easy but you are four times more likely to quit with support from a stop smoking advisor. Quitting smoking remaining one of the best things a smoker can do for their health. When you stop smoking good things start to happen – quitting will allow you to start moving better, breathe more easily and give you more money to spend.
Cheshire West and Chester’s stop smoking service operates throughout the year. For further information and how to access support visit: cheshirechangehub.org or call 0300 777 0033.