CIEH joins NHS organisations to take stand on smoking

Publication Date: 25th February 2015

Subject: Public health

The CIEH is supporting Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, in taking a stand against the harm caused by tobacco, at the launch of the NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control and were at an event on 23 February at the House of Commons.

The NHS Statement, which is endorsed by NHS England, the Public Health Minister, Public Health England and the BMA among other leading health organisations, is a set of commitments made by local NHS organisations to tackle the harm caused by smoking.

Ian Gray, CIEH principal policy officer, present at the event, said: “NICE has provided us with evidence based interventions and strategies which can help everyone who already smokes to quit as well as to prevent children and young people from taking up smoking, but to implement these effectively needs everyone to play their part in integrated planning and service delivery. This statement of support from our partners in the NHS is an important demonstration of high level commitment from a key partner.”

Tobacco remains an enduring public health challenge and the leading cause of premature death and health inequalities in England. Smoking is responsible for 5% of all hospital admissions in those aged over 35 and the cost of smoking to the NHS is estimated to be £2 billion annually.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive, NHS England said: “Smoking is coming down - but it's still our country's number one killer. And it's the single biggest medical reason why poorer people die sooner. Our job in the NHS is to help support the majority of smokers who want to quit, and to help push for policies that prevent people getting hooked in the first place. That's why the NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control is a great initiative - and why I encourage all NHS organisations to consider joining the 25 who are already leading the way.”

Professor John Moxham, Director of Clinical Strategy, King's Health Partners and Chair, Action on Smoking and Health said: “The relationship between tobacco consumption and health inequalities is not widely understood but it is by far the most important single factor in the difference in life expectancies between social classes. Tackling tobacco provides one of the great opportunities to transform public health, and the NHS has a key role to play. I am delighted to see NHS organisations signing the Statement of Support and leading the way in preventing the harm caused by smoking.”

Paul Burstow MP, Chair of the APPG on Smoking and Health, hosted the event and said: “If we are to protect the health of future generations and prevent our young people from taking up a deadly habit, it is crucial that the whole health system works together. I’m delighted to see so many local NHS organisations signing the NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control.”

For more information on the Local Government Declaration please visit: www.smokefreeaction.org.uk/declaration/.

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash. ASH receives core funding from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

Local estimates of the human and financial costs of smoking are available via the ASH Local Toolkit and local tobacco control profiles.

Background information: NHS Statement of Support on Tobacco Control 

The NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control has been developed to enable the health community to support colleagues in local government in their tobacco control work.

The Statement provides a public commitment to work towards further reducing smoking prevalence; to demonstrate a commitment to take action; and to publicise the NHS’s dedication to protect local communities from the harm caused by smoking. It also reinforces the signatory’s commitment to protect tobacco control work from the vested interests of the tobacco industry.

The Statement of Support commits NHS organisations to:

  • Actively support local work to reduce smoking prevalence and health inequalities;
  • Develop plans with partners and local communities;
  • Play a role in tackling smoking through appropriate interventions such as ‘Make Every Contact Count’;
  • Protect tobacco control work from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry;
  • Support Government action at national level;
  • Participate in local and regional networks for support;
  • Join the Smokefree Action Coalition (SFAC).

Notes to editors: 

  • For media enquiries please contact Brian Cowan on 020 7827 5922 or 07721 456727 or email b.cowan@cieh.org 

About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH): 

  • The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing over 10,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved
  • Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. The CIEH is working to ensure that both in support of government policy and in campaigning for necessary additional measures
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