Westmorland and Furness Council have announced ambitious plans to make the area ‘smoke free’ by 2030.
In a cabinet report released, the council plans to reduce smoking prevalence to 5 percent of the population, the rate required to achieve ‘smoke-free’ status, down from the current 11.1 percent.
This will mean reducing the current figure of approximately 20,000 smokers in Westmorland and Furness by half if nobody else takes up the habit during this time.
Vicky Hepworth-Putt, a Public Health Consultant with Westmorland and Furness Council, said: “Ensuring people can live healthy and happy lives is the key outcome of the council plan and addressing lifestyle factors such as smoking and dependence on tobacco are key elements in improving people’s health and wellbeing.
“This is an ambitious plan that will maximise opportunities to engage with smokers and give them the best, most accessible and appropriate support to quit at the right time for them.
“It will also significantly contribute towards improving the health of our population and reducing health inequalities while introducing an early intervention approach, so people don’t start smoking and vaping in the first place.
“We’re looking forward to getting started and working with partners to achieve our goal of being a smoke free area by the end of the decade.”
The report says the council cannot achieve this alone and that they plan to work effectively and collaboratively with partners to “maximise resources, reduce duplication and deliver preventative interventions.”
More than £500 thousand will be invested to support the scheme, taken mostly from the existing public health annual budget, to provide enhanced smoking interventions, universal stop smoking support through pharmacies, including provision for 12-week Nicotine Replacement Therapy, recruit staff to provide enhanced smoking cessation interventions and more.
The smoke-free commitment from the council comes in response to the National Khan Review which recommended that all areas should be working towards smoke-free status by 2030.
Smoking remains the biggest cause of ill-health and death in the UK and increases the risk of developing serious health conditions.
Smoking is also a major contributing factor to health inequalities.