Manchester City Council


Which translates as Tobacco Free Futures for Kids. Chaired a breakfast meeting this morning organised in conjunction with TFF and the Smokefree Action Coalition. The opening speaker was Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle Council, who introduced us to amongst other things the Newcastle Declaration on Tobacco Control, something Manchester City Council will be signing up to at our next full meeting in July. The stats are pretty frightening with a headline figure of 81,400 deaths caused by smoking in England every year, still the single biggest cause of avoidable, premature deaths. The Tobacco companies of course want to replace those lost customers and the basic technique is to catch 'em young. Most smokers start when they are still in their teens and one of the reasons I support things like the plain packaging campaign is to try and cut off that new supply of cigarette addicts. Smoking in the North West of England is estimated to cost our economy £2b a year and that's £400m more than the comparable tax revenue paid by the tobacco companies.

There of course those who would argue that if smokers want to kill themselves it's their choice. Unfortunately they also kill other people through passive smoking with a cost to the NHS of £103m a year in the North West for the effects of second-hand smoking on children. The total cost of smoking to the NHS in the region is nearer £400m per annum, that's spending that is avoidable, money that could be better spent on other health needs, and of course that's money we all contribute whether we smoke or not. Smoking isn't just a health issue, it's also an anti-poverty issue. Smokers tend to be concentrated in more deprived communities so reducing smoking in those neighbourhoods would not only give us healthier people but also wealthier families. Most smokers I know wish they weren't. Public opinion is very heavily in favour of tackling tobacco. The City Council now has new responsibilities for public health and beating the tobacco companies has to be one of our primary objectives.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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