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City of York Council signs the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control
YORK’S city leaders have pledged to cut smoking in the city, where nicotine causes 300 deaths every year.
City of York Council yesterday became the first local authority in Yorkshire to sign the Local Government Declaration On Tobacco Control, enshrining its commitment to “protecting local communities” from the harm caused by cigarettes.
The declaration has been endorsed by Public Health Minister Jane Ellison and Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies.
A profile for York compiled by Public Health England showed that, as well as hundreds of deaths, smoking-related illnesses lead to 2,000 hospital admissions every year, while one in six York babies in 2011/12 was born to a mother who smoked.
Representatives from the council will be invited to the declaration’s national launch at the Houses of Parliament next week. It includes a commitment to protect public health policy from “undue influence” from the tobacco industry through not accepting grants or sponsorship.
York council leader James Alexander said: “We welcome the opportunity for local government to lead local action to tackle smoking and secure the health and wellbeing benefits which come from reducing smoking prevalence, and I am delighted the council has renewed our commitment to tackling the harm from tobacco use.”
Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, the authority’s director of health and wellbeing, said smoking was responsible for half of the difference in life expectancy between York’s richest and poorest residents.
He said: “This is a statistic we can and must change, and signing up to the declaration sends a strong message about our commitment to doing so.”
Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, cabinet member for health, housing and adult social services, said the council would launch its own tobacco control strategy for the city, which would include the views of organisations across York. More information about the declaration is at smokefreeaction.org.uk.
More than 750 people in York quit smoking as a result of the recent Stoptober campaign, according to its organisers, who said the average 13-a-day smoker would have saved £141 during the month and £1,696 a year.
However, figures also showed the number of people stopping smoking without NHS help had fallen for the first time since 2008.
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