Public Health Liverpool welcomes tobacco control review

Public health officials in Liverpool are welcoming an independent review into tobacco control, published today, and are urging the government to implement its recommendations.

The review, led by Dr Jarved Khan, makes a series of recommendations to support the government to meet its Smokefree 2030 ambition and tackle health disparities to level up the health of the nation.

Between 2010 and 2020, smoking prevalence in Liverpool dropped from 22.3% in 2011 to 15.6% – a rate faster than that seen in England and the North-West.

However, a total of 58,000 people in Liverpool still smoke, and residents living in the most disadvantaged parts of the city are twice as likely to be smokers than those living in the least deprived areas (34% compared with 17%).

The report contains 15 recommendations which will support address of these inequalities, including four which are stated as ‘critical’ for the Government to meet its Smokefree 2030 target.

The four critical recommendations are

  • Urgently invest £125 million per year in a comprehensive Smokefree 2030 programme. Options to fund this include a ‘polluter pays’ levy. 
  • Raise the age of sale of tobacco by one year every year. 
  • Offer vaping as a substitute for smoking, alongside accurate information on the benefits of switching, including to healthcare professionals. 
  • For the NHS to prioritise further action to stop people from smoking, by providing support and treatment across all of its services, including primary care.

Professor Matthew Ashton, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health said: “I welcome this report and its recommendations.

“It is a positive step to raise the age of tobacco sale year on year as we already know more than 8 out of 10 adults who have ever smoked regularly started before the age of 19.

“Similarly, the proposed increased investment in tobacco control funded by the tobacco industry is also welcome, though we need to ensure the investment flows to the areas with the highest smoking rates and greatest health inequalities.”

Professor Ashton added: “We have made significant progress in Liverpool over the past decade in reducing the harms smoking creates within our communities.

“This decrease in smoking has been achieved through the concerted implementation of our tobacco strategy which has seen Liverpool innovating and leading on a wide range of initiatives.

“These interventions include our quit smoking in pregnancy incentive scheme, proactive enforcement of tobacco legislation and interventions to de-normalize smoking where children are present, such as our successful smokefree sidelines and smokefree homes programmes.

“I now urge the government to implement the recommendations within the Khan Review which will provide much needed resource to continue our drive towards making Liverpool a smokefree city.” 

Support is readily available for smokers in Liverpool who want to quit. Smokefree Liverpool, a specialist smoking cessation service have supported thousands of local smokers in the last year to quit their habit. For free expert advice call 0800 061 4212 or 0151 374 2535. Alternatively, text QUIT to 66777 or visit www.smokefreeliverpool.co.uk.

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