NHS organisations take stand on smoking

Monday 23 February 2015

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, was today joined in Parliament by the public health community, Parliamentarians and NHS professionals at the launch of the NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control [1].

The NHS Statement, which is endorsed by NHS England, the Public Health Minister, Public Health England and the BMA amongst other leading health organisations, is a set of commitments made by local NHS organisations to tackle the harm caused by smoking.

Tobacco remains an enduring public health challenge and the leading cause of premature death and health inequalities in England [2]. Smoking is responsible for 5% of all hospital admissions in those aged over 35 [3] and the cost of smoking to the NHS is estimated to be £2 billion annually [4].

Twenty five local NHS organisations, including Clinical Commissioning Groups, Foundation Trusts and Mental Health Trusts have become early adopters of the Statement with many more planning to do so in the near future.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive, NHS England said:

“Smoking is coming down – but it’s still our country’s number one killer. And it’s the single biggest medical reason why poorer people die sooner. Our job in the NHS is to help support the majority of smokers who want to quit, and to help push for policies that prevent people getting hooked in the first place. That’s why the NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control is a great initiative – and why I encourage all NHS organisations to consider joining the 25 who are already leading the way.”

Professor John Moxham, Director of Clinical Strategy, King’s Health Partners and Chair, Action on Smoking and Health said:

“The relationship between tobacco consumption and health inequalities is not widely understood but it is by far the most important single factor in the difference in life expectancies between social classes.
Tackling tobacco provides one of the great opportunities to transform public health, and the NHS has a key role to play. I am delighted to see NHS organisations signing the Statement of Support and leading the way in preventing the harm caused by smoking.”

Paul Burstow MP, Chair of the APPG on Smoking and Health, hosted the event. He said:

“If we are to protect the health of future generations and prevent our young people from taking up a deadly habit, it is crucial that the whole health system works together. I’m delighted to see so many local NHS organisations signing the NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control.”

Dr David Fearnley, Medical Director of Mersey Care NHS Trust, one of the first local Trusts to commit to the Statement said:

“At Mersey Care we are committed to fighting mental illness and there is evidence that a significant number of people with mental health issues also smoke. Stopping smoking is one of the most effective things you can do to help your health, which is why as a Trust we are committed to establishing a smoke-free environment on our sites and we are fully supportive of the NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control.”



[1] For more information on the NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control please visit: www.smokefreeaction.org.uk/declaration/NHSstatement.html
[2] ONS, General Lifestyle Survey 2011, Chapter 1 Smoking, 2013
[3] HSCIC, Statistics on Smoking in England 2014
[4] ASH Ready Reckoner, 2014
[5] For more information on the Local Government Declaration please visit: www.smokefreeaction.org.uk/declaration

Images of the event are available here (contact us for hi-res versions).

Background information: NHS Statement of Support on Tobacco Control

The NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control has been developed to enable the health community to support colleagues in local government in their tobacco control work.

The Statement provides a public commitment to work towards further reducing smoking prevalence; to demonstrate a commitment to take action; and to publicise the NHS’s dedication to protect local communities from the harm caused by smoking. It also reinforces the signatory’s commitment to protect tobacco control work from the vested interests of the tobacco industry.

The Statement of Support commits NHS organisations to:

• Actively support local work to reduce smoking prevalence and health inequalities;
• Develop plans with partners and local communities;
• Play a role in tackling smoking through appropriate interventions such as ‘Make Every Contact Count’;
• Protect tobacco control work from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry;
• Support Government action at national level;
• Participate in local and regional networks for support;
• Join the Smokefree Action Coalition (SFAC).