Council and NHS back government action on smoking

Gateshead Council and Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust are together supporting government plans to help create a smokefree generation.

The government is currently consulting on plans that include raising the age of sale of tobacco by one year every year, a historic new law which would ultimately stop children who turn 14 this year, or younger, from ever legally being sold cigarettes in England.

Tobacco is the biggest cause of cancer, ill health and early death in the UK, fuelling health inequalities and killing 2 in 3 smokers early. Smoking costs the North East nearly one billion a year in health, social care and the economy – £79.6 million of which relates to Gateshead.

Alice Wiseman, Gateshead’s Director of Public Health, said: “In Gateshead, one person dies from smoking-related illness every 17 hours*, so it’s not surprising that most of us have had to deal with the devastating loss of a loved one.

Most smokers start as children and end up with a lifelong addiction that more often than not, results in early death. Now is the time to end this cycle. We must give our next generation a life free of the addiction, cost and diseases caused by tobacco.”

The proposals were officially endorsed at a meeting of Gateshead’s Health and Wellbeing Board this morning (1 December).

Councillor Bernadette Oliphant, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “It’s clear that action on smoking is not only needed, it’s wanted too. We know that 78% of North East adults support reducing smoking down to 5% or less and we won’t achieve that without bold, decisive action.

Gateshead Council supports all efforts to reach the aim of a smokefree generation.”

Andy Beeby, medical director at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Smoking is the leading cause of health-related problems and is the number one reversible issue in health. We alongside Gateshead Council fully support the government’s plans to create a smokefree generation.

We must provide our future generations with a life free from the harms of tobacco-related diseases.”

The proposals also include tighter regulation to tackle the issue of youth vaping, whilst still promoting vapes as an aid for quitting smoking.

The consultation on Creating a Smokefree Generation and Tackling Youth Vaping closes on 6 December. Read the proposals in full and have your say.

*Local Tobacco Control Profiles – Data – OHID [Online] Available at: