Derbyshire council gets £5m Government funding boost in battle to stub out smoking

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Derbyshire County Council aims to stub out smoking rates across the county – which appear to be higher than the national average – after agreeing to accept over five million pounds of Government funding over the next five years.

The council’s Cabinet approved the acceptance of the first additional Government funding award of £1,083,451 from its Stopping the Start scheme to continue supporting the council’s services which are already working to help people quit smoking in Derbyshire in 2024/25.

This latest council health drive – agreed at a meeting on April 11 – preceded the Government’s progress with its Tobacco and Vaping Bill plans to ban anyone born after January 1, 2009, from legally buying cigarettes for life which passed its second reading in the House of Commons on April 16 as part of plans to achieve a smoke-free England by 2030.

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Cllr Carol Hart, Cabinet member for Health and Communities, told the county council’s Cabinet meeting: “The worrying part is we all know smoking is really bad for you.”

Derbyshire County Council aims to stub out smoking rates across the county – which appear to be higher than the national average – after agreeing to accept over five million pounds of Government funding over the next five years.Derbyshire County Council aims to stub out smoking rates across the county – which appear to be higher than the national average – after agreeing to accept over five million pounds of Government funding over the next five years.
Derbyshire County Council aims to stub out smoking rates across the county – which appear to be higher than the national average – after agreeing to accept over five million pounds of Government funding over the next five years.

She added: “In Derbyshire we are not doing well. We are above the national average. We are not doing very well in Derbyshire and we have a lot of work to do.”

A council report stated that smoking is responsible for over 3,000 deaths per year in Derbyshire and almost 8,000 hospital admissions and the cost of smoking in Derbyshire is around £259m in lost productivity, fires, health and social care costs.

The report added that in Derbyshire in 2022 approximately 14per cent of adults, or around 90,000 people, were smoking which is above the average of 12.7per cent for England.

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Latest figures show that in Derbyshire 14per cent of people aged 18 and over are smokers and the highest prevalence rates are in Erewash at 18.9per cent, in Bolsover at 17.3per cent and in the High Peak at 15.9per cent, according to the council.

Shockingly, with pregnancy the proportion of people smoking at the time of delivery in Derbyshire in 2021-22 was recorded at 11.8per cent, according to the council, which is above the average rate of 9.1per cent for England.

Smoking is the single most entirely preventable cause of ill health, disability, and death in the UK, according to the council’s latest report, and it increases a person’s risk of developing at least one of more than 50 serious health conditions including cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

Cllr Hart revealed that nationally smoking is responsible for around 80,000 deaths a year and the council report stated that no other legally available consumer product will kill up to two-thirds of its users.

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The council report also highlighted that smoking is a major risk factor for poor maternal and infant outcomes and it causes around one in four of all UK cancer deaths and it is responsible for the majority of lung cancer cases.

Smoking is also a major cause of premature heart disease, stroke and heart failure, according to the council report, and it increases the risk of dementia in the elderly.

Cllr Hart said: “When we look at the deaths and disabilities caused by smoking, beating smoking is the best thing a smoker can do and if someone quits before 30 they could add ten years to their life.”

Statistics show that smokers lose an average of 10 years life expectancy, or around one year for every four years of smoking, according to the council report.

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Despite the shocking statistics, the Government’s aim from 2024-25 onwards is to double the number of people quitting smoking over five years with help from its Stopping the Start scheme and it wants to achieve a smoke-free England by 2030.

The Government’s Stopping the Start scheme includes a programme of overall funding to help current smokers quit with £70 million of additional funding per year being awarded towards local authorities’ existing services and support.

Derbyshire County Council has confirmed it is set to receive over £5m of funding during the next five years to help the authority reduce smoking rates across the county with the first amount set at £1,083,451 for 2024-25.

Cllr Hart said: “Nationally, smoking is responsible for around 80,000 deaths a year and no other legally available consumer product will kill up to two-thirds of its users.

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“That is why we are committed to driving down smoking rates in Derbyshire and we are delighted to receive this funding to help us achieve that.”

She added: “It’s a no-brainer that we want to do work with the Government and it will add to the money we already provide for public health.”

The county council’s public health department’s Live Life Better Derbyshire scheme has already helped 1,600 individuals quit smoking in 2022-23.

Live Life Better Derbyshire’s stop smoking service manager Alex Carlow said: “This additional funding is great news for our service as it will provide more resources which allows us to reach out and support more people to stop smoking.”

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Funding will go towards expanding the council’s in-house stop smoking service support as well as increasing demand for services, providing training to partners and working with hard-to-reach audiences.

The Government’s Tobacco and Vaping Bill is set to go to a committee stage where it will be further scrutinised before any final decisions on banning anyone turning 15-years-old this year or younger from buying tobacco products for life.

Derbyshire County Council’s ’s Live Life Better Derbyshire programme offers a free, 12-week stop smoking service that includes: Telephone support sessions; One-to-one support; Access to free nicotine replacement therapy including patches, mouth spray, gum, ‘inhalators’ and lozenges; Access to free vape starter kits and a 12-week supply of e-liquid for adults only but they are not available for pregnant clients; And advice on stop smoking medications.

Cllr Hart added that the council does not wish to encourage vaping but she feels it is still a preferable option to smoking.

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And Derbyshire County Council Leader, Cllr Barry Lewis, said that as a former smoker he can endorse the benefits of quitting smoking which he believes does make a difference to a person’s life.

Derbyshire County Council has also invited its residents to find out more about stopping smoking by visiting www.livelifebetterderbyshire.org.uk or calling 0800 085 2299 for any advice and support.