It’s 10 years since the introduction of the ‘Smoking in Public Places Ban’ and Kent has seen a major significant reduction in the number of people who smoke.
1 July 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the most important public health reform in generations – the ending of smoking in enclosed public places in England. In 2007 the government passed a new law which made it illegal for anyone to smoke in an enclosed public place and within the workplace. This ensured that everyone could use the train station, eat in a restaurant or shop without suffering the negative effects of second-hand smoke.
At the start of the ban, almost 21% of the Kent population smoked, now this has reduced by a quarter to just over 15% of residents.*
Kent County Council Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “Initially, it took a few years to see a steady reduction in smoking but there has been a strong and consistent reduction year on year since 2012, five years after the ban was introduced.
“This trend demonstrates how smoking is becoming ‘de-normalised’ in society however smoking still accounts for one in six of all deaths in England. We welcome and continue to support a range of Smoke Free measures and services that can help a greater reduction in smoking.”
Stop Smoking Services in Kent have a very good quit success rate and smokers are 10 times more likely to quit with the support of these services. In 2015, KCC worked with Ashford Borough Council to launch an awareness campaign in parks in the area, with children creating posters to encourage a Smokefree environment. This was repeated earlier this year in Canterbury when three schools joined up to promote ‘Smokefree school gates’.
KCC commissions Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust to run smoking cessation support services across the county. Anne Ford, Assistant Director for Health Improvement at KCHFT said: “Our NHS stop smoking team run more than 70 clinics a week to support people who want to quit. Last year almost three and a half thousand people in Kent went smokefree with our help. You’re much more likely to succeed with help!”
Public Health England (PHE) is working with Local Authorities and the NHS to enable more hospital trusts to go completely tobacco-free. More services are now available to inpatients and outpatients to help them quit – such as Medway NHS Foundation Trust and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. PHE has also produced vaping policy which is helping organisations, like hospitals, to design and implement ‘vaping policies’. This follows evidence which shows vaping to 95% safer than smoking tobacco.
Angela Baker, Deputy Director for Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England South East said: “The indoor smoking ban in public places was one of the greatest reforms to public health in this country. The move, coupled with quit smoking initiatives such as Stoptober and the work of Local Authority public health teams, has helped to drastically cut the number of smokers by facilitating quit attempts and smokefree lifestyles. Not only has the health of smokers benefitted but so too has the health of non-smokers who no longer have to breathe second-hand smoke in pubs, restaurants and bars.”
The steady decline in smoking from 2012 also sees a rapid increase in e-cigarette use from 700,000 to nearly three million today in 2017. Andrew Scott-Clark added: “Vaping is a successful aid for many people to help them quit smoking. Although more research is being conducted into the long term use of e-cigarettes, recent reviews from PHE state that e-cigarettes are considered 95% safer than smoking and Kent Stop Smoking Services will support anyone who wants to quit using e-cigarettes.”
For information on support services available in Kent to help you quit, call 0300 123 1220 or visit www.oneyoukent.org.uk
Note to newsdesks:
*In Kent, we have seen a reduction in smoking from 20.7% of the Kent population smoking in 2007 to 15.2% today. This is a similar trend to the rest of the country.