Oldham Health and Wellbeing Board is committed more than ever to reducing smoking levels in the borough after signing the NHS statement of support for tobacco control.
With tobacco use being the single greatest cause of preventable illness and avoidable death in the UK and with the percentage of adults smoking in Oldham (22 per cent) significantly higher than the England average (16.9 per cent), the council is keen to address the impact of smoking.
It was only in November last year that Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England (PHE), was looking for ways in which to reach smokers in hospitals and consulting rooms as he sought commitment towards a tobacco-free NHS.
With around 475,000 hospital admissions in England attributable to smoking, the total annual cost of this habit is estimated at £2 billion, with an additional £1.1billion in social care costs. But by signing this statement, the Oldham Health and Wellbeing Board has publicly committed to doing its bit to help ease this burden.
The Health and Wellbeing Board, which has representatives from Oldham Council, Oldham CCG, Pennine Care, Pennine Acute, and Bridgewater NHS Trusts, will now work together to raise the profile of the harm caused by smoking.
The Board’s NHS organisations will also join the Smokefree Action Coalition, an alliance of organisations working to reduce the harm caused by tobacco, and will continue to actively support local work which reduces the levels of smoking and health inequalities.
All organisations involved will also now use appropriate interventions such as ‘Make Every Contact Count’ to tackle smoking, and will reject any commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry, as a result of this signing.
Residents who are keen to stop smoking can get free, tailored support from Oldham’s Stop Smoking service on 0800 288 9008 or by visiting www.oldham.gov.uk/info/200429/stop_smoking
Cllr Eddie Moores, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “According to some of the statistics, approximately 23,239 households in Oldham have at least one smoker.
“This is something we have to help change because the health risks which originate from smoking are life-threatening and this signing shows we are fully committed to helping people stop smoking.”
The statement has been widely endorsed by leading figures and organisations in the public health community, including: Public Health England, NHS England, Association of Directors of Public Health, UK Faculty of Public Health, Care Quality Commission, Royal College of Physicians, BMA Board of Science, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Royal College of General Practitioners.