Greater Manchester health leaders back plans to create a smokefree generation as historic Bill is read in Parliament for the first time – Make Smoking History

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Greater Manchester health leaders back plans to create a smokefree generation as historic Bill is read in Parliament for the first time

News comes as survey findings show over half of people in Greater Manchester have lost someone to smoking.

Greater Manchester health leaders and residents have welcomed plans to create a smokefree generation, as an historic Bill has been tabled in Parliament for the first time [1].

It comes as NHS Greater Manchester launch their ‘What Will You Miss?’ campaign across the city-region, raising awareness of the devastating harms of tobacco and prompting residents to consider the moments they will miss from dying too soon.

Smoking is uniquely harmful – no other consumer product kills up to 2 in 3 users. A new Greater Manchester wide survey [2] found that over half of people (53%) have lost a friend or a family member to smoking-related illnesses, highlighting how urgently needed new tobacco legislation is.

Four in five smokers start before the age of 20 and are addicted for life [3]. The new legislation includes plans to ‘stop the start’ of smoking, raising the age of sale of tobacco to stop children who turn 15 this year or younger from ever legally being sold cigarettes. Plans also include a ban on disposable vapes to combat the worrying rise in young people vaping.

As the misery of smoking continues to leave a trail of harm throughout Greater Manchester, the plans would save thousands of lives, stop young people from ever getting hooked on tobacco and ease the burden of tobacco harm on the NHS.

In Greater Manchester alone

  • 3% of people smoke. That’s around 1 in 7 people.
  • Tobacco causes 3,900 deaths each year.
  • 150,000 people live with a smoking related illness.
Greater Manchester residents back smokefree generation plans

Residents across Greater Manchester are backing the government’s plans to create a smokefree generation, to protect children and young people from the harms of smoking.

The plans are also supported by mum-of-two Nadine Smith from Woodhouses in Manchester, who quit smoking two years ago for her children. Nadine’s dad suffers from smoking-related COPD and Emphysema and sadly she has watched him deteriorate over the years. She has also lost friends to smoking.

She said: “I really want the Government to embark on a journey to ensure that we do have a smokefree generation in the future. I’ve lost friends to smoking, people who should still be here enjoying their lives and seeing their children grow up. A smokefree future can’t come soon enough for me.”

Rebecca Fletcher, Director of Public Health for Oldham who lost her mum to lung cancer, said: “My mum died when she was just 63 – she still had so much living to do. She’d had a cough for a while that she’d ignored and when she finally got help, she was diagnosed with lung cancer due to smoking and died two months later. I didn’t expect to lose my mum when I was in my thirties – there are so many birthdays and family occasions that she’s missed. If we end smoking, we can end the biggest cause of lung cancer and save thousands of families from the heartache that I’ve been through.”

Jane Pilkington, Director of Population Health at NHS Greater Manchester, said: “There is overwhelming support in Greater Manchester for a smokefree generation policy as eight in ten people in the city-region support making smoking history. Creating a smokefree generation is one of the most impactful things the government can do to protect children and young people from the harms of tobacco, and to help people who currently smoke to stop.”

Debbie Watson, Tameside Council’s Director of Public Health and Chair of the Greater Manchester Public Health Leadership Network said: “We are delighted that the Government is prioritising ending the harms of smoking by introducing new legislation which will prevent our biggest cause of cancer, stop the start of young smokers and create a better life for our children.”


[1] Policy paper: Stopping the start: our new plan to create a smokefree generation. 5 October 2023—stopping-the-start

[2] All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Opinium Research.  Total sample size was 1,000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th – 24th October 2023.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in Greater Manchester (aged 18+).