Health chiefs in South Tyneside claim the borough is on track to have a ‘smoke-free generation’ by 2030.
The government recently outlined its Tobacco Control Plan, with a vision to have a smoke-free generation – which would see just 5% of people smoking – within 13 years.
South Tyneside’s health and wellbeing strategy has been meeting its targets to reduce smoking.
The number of people smoking in the borough is at its lowest level in five years, having fallen from 25% in 2010 to 18% today.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for independence and wellbeing, said: “Some 373 people die from smoking every year in South Tyneside. Furthermore, smoking costs the NHS £6.7million and the South Tyneside economy, in terms of absenteeism and sickness, £2.1million.
“If we can reduce the number of smokers to 5% by 2030 we can save not only thousands of lives but also South Tyneside’s NHS services and the local economy a staggering £4.7million.”
If we can reduce the number of smokers to 5% by 2030 we can save not only thousands of lives but also South Tyneside’s NHS services and the local economy a staggering £4.7millionCoun Tracey Dixon
The council is set to work with key organisations who promote financial inclusion to reinforce the high cost of smoking and encourage people to get help to quit.
It will also continue to focus efforts on discouraging children from smoking, while work is underway to consider the introduction of smoke-free parks.
Melanie Snowden, from South Shields, knows the benefits of stopping smoking, having sought support from Change4Life South Tyneside when she was expecting her fifth child.
Melanie, who used to smoke 20 to 30 cigarettes a day, said: “I would encourage other mums to give it a try - it doesn’t cost anything.
“I smoked for so many years and would never have thought I would be able to stop but I did.”
For more information, call Change4Life South Tyneside on 0191 4247300.