Hundreds of South Tyneside residents living in poverty due to cost of smoking

Hundreds of South Tyneside residents could help lift themselves out of poverty if they quit smoking, latest statistics reveal.

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 11:52 am
Updated Thursday, 27th June 2019, 5:03 pm
Hundreds of people in social housing in South Tyneside are living in poverty due to the cost of smoking

According to the latest figures from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), more than 20% of people in social housing in South Tyneside are living in poverty due to the cost of smoking.

Tobacco costs each of the borough’s tenants £2,292.68 on average per year, which works out at more than £44 a week being spent on smoking products.

The Quitting Dividend for Tenants and Landlords report, published by the public health charity yesterday, explores the financial impact of smoking on social housing landlords and tenants.

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Coun Tracey Dixon

The report urges social landlords to use their position to help tenants combat their addiction to tobacco, while tenants are encouraged to seek support for the sake of their lives, while also to helping themselves climb out of debt.

South Tyneside Council works with social housing association, South Tyneside Homes and their tenants to provide free stop smoking support.

Housing staff make tenancy support visits in order to raise awareness among residents of the harm that tobacco products can cause.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, deputy council leader with responsibility for independence and wellbeing, said: “We know people who live in social housing are more likely to smoke, but are less successful in their attempts to address their addiction.

“Our housing staff now play a key role in helping us to achieve better public health outcomes by having more meaningful health-related conversations in the tenant’s home.”

Helping social tenants in South Tyneside to address their addiction could result in more than £48,000 being spent in the local community each week.

Councillor Dixon added: “Stopping smoking is the single biggest thing people can do to improve their health, but I would also encourage all smokers to think very carefully about the amount of money they are literally seeing going up in smoke.”

Free stop smoking support is available from the Council’s Change4Life team on telephone 0191 424 7300.