A range of measures to raise awareness around the dangers of smoking as well as innovative ways of encouraging people to quit will be up for discussion.
South Tyneside Council’s Cabinet members are to be presented with recommendations next week after the People Select Committee established a commission last year to tackle smoking rates.
The commission was set up after the borough was placed as the fifth worst area in the country for people being admitted to hospital with smoking related issues, according to information published by Public Health England.
Coun Eileen Leask, who is a member of the people select committee, said: “Lung cancer is the biggest cause of death in South Tyneside and many of those that die from this cruel disease have smoked. We are committed to tackling smoking and that’s why the work of the commission is so important.”
The commission concentrated on the work around smoking bans and legislation as well as looking at plain packaging and advertising, and the high numbers of women who smoke during pregnancy.
“I thought that most people were aware of the harmful effects smoking has on us but I was shocked to find that few people were able to name the many other cancers such as mouth, throat, kidney, bladder and stomach cancer that smokers are more likely to get,” added Coun Leask.
“It’s true that many people were aware of lung cancer but this shows that there is still work to be done and that’s why we are committed to helping our smokers, many of whom live in deprived areas of the Borough and may also be struggling to make ends meet, by making our stop smoking service as effective as possible.”
The commission also investigated how the council is currently tackling the prevalence of smoking in the Borough and recommended that work is undertaken to help prevent youngsters from starting to smoke as well as offering more support to pregnant women who continue to smoke. The Commission has laid out a number of other recommendations to address the issue including carrying out more work to help prevent youngsters from starting to smoke as well as greater recognition of the links between smoking and poverty.
Lead Member for public health Coun Moira Smith said: “We would like to thank the People Select Committee and the Commission for their in depth work.
“The single biggest thing a person can do to improve their health is to quit smoking. We are helping residents to quit through our Change4life South Tyneside programme which offers help and advice as well as a convenient location where you can access support to help you quit. You are four times more likely to succeed in stopping smoking so I would urge anyone interested in quitting to access Change4life South Tyneside.”
For help and advice on stopping smoking telephone Change4life South Tyneside on 0191 424 7300 or visit www.change4lifesouthtyneside.co.uk.
Members of the cabinet will be meeting on Wednesday, April 20 at 4pm in Jarrow Town Hall.