Councillors’ briefings

Click on the links below to download short briefings (pdf) for councillors on key issues in tobacco policy. Each briefing sets out the problem and points towards action councils can take to put things right.


The challenge

Making the case for local tobacco control
This short briefing provides local councillors with the information they need about why tobacco remains top of the agenda for public health.
Health inequalities
Smoking is the biggest cause of health inequalities in the UK accounting for half the difference in life expectancy between richest and poorest. Not smoking can allow people to leap the health gap, with the poorest non smokers typically having a substantially longer life than the richest smokers.
The true cost
This briefing sets out the enormous economic cost of tobacco use both to the individual and society.
The harm caused by smoking starts during pregnancy, persists throughout childhood and later life. In England every year smoking during pregnancy causes 5,000 miscarriages and 300 perinatal deaths. Living in smoky homes causes asthma and other respiratory diseases in children.
Illicit tobacco
Cheap illicit tobacco fuels teen smoking, worsens health inequalities, harms local businesses and is linked to crime at many levels. Working together councils can tackle this illegal trade and reduce inequalities.
Smoking related fires
Cigarettes and smoking materials are the single largest cause of accidental house fires resulting in fatalities. Local authorities can make a difference by providing harm reduction advice and communicating tobacco control messages.
Smoking related litter
Cigarette butts are the single most littered item in England. This briefing provides information on the impact of smoking litter on local communities as well as on tackling the problem.

Policy and solution

Implementation of the Tobacco Control Plan
In July 2017 the Government published Towards a Smokefree Generation: A Tobacco Control Plan for England with new targets for reducing smoking prevalence by 2022. This briefing sets out the key ambitions of the Plan and the actions that local authorities can take locally.
NHS: Implementation of the Tobacco Control Plan
Creating a smokefree NHS is a key ambition of the Government’s Tobacco Control Plan published in July 2017. This briefing sets out what is meant by a smokefree NHS and what local providers and commissioners can do to achieve it.
Protecting health policy
The tobacco industry has a long history of working to subvert or delay health policy – local government needs to be vigilant regarding tobacco industry influence locally.
Reducing the harm
The best thing smokers can do to protect their health is to quit now, completely and forever. However, not all smokers are ready to take that step and it is important to offer such smokers an alternative approach.
Regional tobacco control
The evidence is clear that regional tobacco control, where localities collaboratively take comprehensive approaches across larger footprints, more effectively reduces smoking rates.
Supporting quit attempts
Smoking is extremely addictive and people need support when attempting to quit. Local authorities can make a difference by commissioning stop smoking services that are run in line with best practice evidence.
Local Stop Smoking Services
This briefing sets out the case for Local Stop Smoking Services, the most clinically effective (and highly cost-effective) intervention available to support smokers to quit.
Electronic cigarettes briefing
FAQ about electronic cigarettes for local authorities and Councillors