Making Smoking History for Children and Young People in Greater Manchester – Make Smoking History

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Making Smoking History for Children and Young People in Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester welcomes new Government consultation launched today to end the death and disease caused by tobacco harm in our communities, stop the start of new smokers and address youth vaping.

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partners have welcomed the launch of a UK-wide Government consultation to stop the start of new smokers as a vital first step to create a smokefree generation.

Tobacco remains the single most important preventable cause of ill health, disability, and death in the country, responsible for 5,700 deaths in Greater Manchester each year and more than 24,000 hospital admissions to treat smoking-related illnesses. No other consumer product kills up to 2 in 3 users.

Since 2017, Greater Manchester has been on a journey to become a smokefree city-region, pioneering many of the recommendations in the Khan Review, including being the first place in the country to pilot ‘Swap to Stop’, a harm reduction initiative that encouraged adult smokers in Salford to switch to vaping.

As a result of Greater Manchester’s multi-component approach to making smoking history, smoking rates in Greater Manchester have fallen to an all-time low, with just 14.3% of adults (equivalent to around 316,000 people) in Greater Manchester smoking in 2022 and significant reductions in smoking in pregnancy resulting in an additional 4,500 babies being born smokefree.

Additional government funding announced for local stop smoking services, for mass media campaigns and enforcement will support our successful, collaborative and comprehensive approach to Making Smoking History – and the measures set out in the consultation will support delivering a Smokefree 2030 together across our city region.

The Government has launched an eight week consultation across the UK from today and proposals being consulted on include:

  1. Making it an offence for anyone born on or after 1 January 2009 to be sold tobacco products
  2. Restricting the flavours and descriptions of vapes so that vape flavours are no longer targeted at children – we want to ensure this is done in a way that continues to support adult smokers to switch
  3. Regulating point of sale displays in retail outlets so that vapes are kept out of sight from children and away from products that appeal to them, such as sweets
  4. Regulating vape packaging and product presentation, ensuring that neither the device nor its packaging is targeted to children
  5. Considering restricting the sale of disposable vapes, which are clearly linked to the rise in vaping in children. These products are not only attractive to children but also incredibly harmful to the environment
  6. Exploring further restrictions for non-nicotine vapes and other nicotine consumer products such as nicotine pouches
  7. Exploring whether increasing the price of vapes will reduce the number of young people using them
  8. Introducing new powers for local authorities to issue on-the-spot fines (Fixed Penalty Notices) to enforce age of sale legislation of tobacco products and vapes

Figures show:

  1. Most smokers start as teenagers with 83% smoking before the age of 20 [1]
  2. Three quarters of smokers would never have started if they had the choice again [1]
  3. Smokers who start younger have higher levels of tobacco dependency and suffer a worse risk of lung cancer and heart disease during their lives [2]
  4. 8 in 10 Greater Manchester adults support ending smoking – including half of smokers – with a target of fewer than 5% smoking by 2030 [3]
There’s no other legal product out there which kills two in three consumers when used exactly as intended.

Paul Dennett, Chair of Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership Board and Deputy Mayor for Greater Manchester, said: “People living in Greater Manchester have a lower life expectancy than those living in other parts of the country, and it is vital that we take action to reduce preventable illnesses like cancer, heart disease and the role they play in health inequalities.

“We are committed to tackling the harms caused by tobacco and want to see a healthier, smokefree future for everyone. Smoking is a cross-party issue and measures to end the harms of tobacco are wanted by the public in Greater Manchester.

“We look forward to seeing responses to this consultation from the Greater Manchester public and across our public services so that the government’s proposed initiatives move forward at pace, and the next generation never experiences the devastating harms of the tobacco.”

Sarah Price, Chief Officer for Population & Health Inequalities at NHS Greater Manchester, said: “The Government’s plans to end smoking for all young people are historic. I look back on when the smokefree law came into effect and the societal shift it brought about – and this is another vital step forward.

“Tobacco is a uniquely harmful product. There’s no other legal product out there which kills two in three consumers when used exactly as intended. In Greater Manchester, too many communities are still suffering from the harms of tobacco and the Government’s commitment to see a generation which grows up smokefree is warmly welcomed.

“People in Greater Manchester want to see an end to the health inequalities starkly felt across their communities and an end to young people getting hooked on smoking, so we welcome the Government consultation on plans to raise the age of sale on cigarettes, plus tougher regulation of vapes to protect children while still offering adult smokers a way out of smoking.”

Debbie Watson, Tameside Council’s Director of Public Health and Chair of the Greater Manchester Public Health Leadership Network said: “We will be encouraging all our partners to respond to this consultation. Smoking is still our biggest killer, causing 1 in 4 of all cancer deaths and resulting in admission to hospital every minute. In Greater Manchester, it costs the region around £829.7million a year [4] in health and social care cost, impact to the economy and through fires. We now have a chance to make a once-in-a-generation difference.

“It is also important that we address the many concerns around children and young people vaping and we will look carefully at the options under consideration and support urgent action to look at the price, marketing and packaging of vape products to reduce their appeal to children.”