Sheffield City Council and partners are currently refreshing the Tobacco Control Strategy for 2017-2022.
Smoking is still the biggest killer in the UK and is the biggest cause of health inequalities between rich and poor[i]. We have made good progress in tackling tobacco both nationally and locally however we cannot say the job is done when we still have approximately 79,260[ii] smokers in the city. Tobacco kills 16 people per week in the Sheffield[iii] – those who smoke can expect to have shorter, less healthy lives. 900 women smoke at the time their baby is born[iv]. Addiction to tobacco begins in childhood and takes hold into adulthood.
Our vision for Sheffield over the next 5 years is that Sheffield will become a Smokefree city in which to live, work and play; people will live longer and healthier lives smokefree; children will grow up in a city where smoking is unusual and no children will take up this habit. This level of ambition requires a shift away from a focus solely on individual behaviour change to more investment in prevention and population level policy based approaches.
We have reviewed local need and the best evidence of “what works”. The World Health Organisation recommends that a comprehensive programme of tobacco control is adopted in order to effectively reduce the number of smokers. This includes action to;
support smokers to quit;
prevention of young people starting to smoke;
communication campaigns to increase awareness of dangers of smoking;
removal of cheap and illicit tobacco from our communities;
extension of Smokefree environments to protect from the harms of secondhand smoke and to change social norms around smoking.
Since 2015 there have been reductions in the level of funding available for local authorities to spend on public health. Therefore this has meant that difficult decisions have to be made. We are unable to fund everything to the level we would like. This means we need to prioritise interventions that will deliver the largest public health benefit.
What we would like to do
In Sheffield the budget for tobacco control is £1.1 million. Currently 60% of this budget funds stop smoking services and 40% funds wider tobacco control work. We are proposing to invest more in prevention and population level Smokefree policy based approaches. Our approach combines interventions we know are effective in reducing health and social care costs, as well as costs to wider society.
We are proposing to move £220,000 from stop smoking services in order to invest this money into:
prevention work with all secondary schools in the city and begin a primary school programme
increase the number of outdoor smokefree sites and events (e.g. hospital, university, Council, NHS and leisure centre grounds)
increase the investment in communication and media campaigns targeting those who find it the most difficult to quit smoking and who are the most addicted.
[i] Smoking still kills. Protecting children and reducing inequalities, ASH (2015)