Oxfordshire plans to become first smoke-free county

oxfordshire planning on eliminating smoking from the countyOxfordshire’s Health Improvement Partnership Board is discussing plans to become the first smoke-free county in the UK.

Action on Smoking and Health believes smoking costs Oxfordshire residents £121.7m every year.

Oxfordshire Tobacco Control Strategy outlines plans to become smoke free by 2025, becoming the first county to do so.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire county council’s director of public health, consequently described plans as a ‘step change’ to the Witney Gazette.

He outlined the deep inequalities with smoking, also pointing out the poorest communities are the hardest hit by health issues.

He then described the plan as having a ‘four pillar’ approach to reducing the number of smokers.

The plans include:

  • Carrying on with existing prevention work
  • Regulating and enforcing tobacco products
  • Creating more smoke-free environments
  • Supporting smokers to quit.

Falling smoking numbers

Cancer Research UK studies show cigarette consumption drops by 1.4 billion across England each year.

Average monthly cigarette consumption fell by a quarter from 2011 and 2018, totalling 118 million fewer cigarettes each month.

Cancer Research UK suggests these figures therefore show stricter tobacco laws and encouraging people to quit smoking is having an effect.

‘It’s brilliant that over a billion fewer sales of cigarettes in England every year,’ lead author, Dr Sarah Jackson from UCL’s Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, said.

‘The decline in national cigarette consumption is dramatic and also exceeds the decline in smoking prevalence, which, over the same time period, was around 15%.

‘This means that not only are fewer people smoking, but those who continue to smoke are smoking less.

‘Studies like this help to give us an accurate picture of cigarette consumption.

‘(This is) so we know where we’re at and what more needs to be done.’

Smoke free

The government is planning on eliminating smoking from Britain under plans published in the Daily Mail.

The plans require tobacco companies to cover the cost of helping smokers to quit by 2030.

Actions to help people quit include leaflets placed inside cigarette packets and targeting black market cigarettes.

‘It’s hard to win gains in tobacco control, and there’s still much to do,’ the plans say.

‘For the 15% of adults who are not yet smoke-free, smoking is the leading cause of ill-health and early death, and a major cause of inequalities.

‘That’s why the government wants to finish the job.’

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