Sunderland’s Health and Wellbeing Board is backing a set of recommendations to help more people become smokefree sooner.

The recommendations were set out by Dr Javed Khan OBE, who conducted a review which found that the poorest parts of England are set to miss the ‘smokefree by 2030’ targets by 14 years.

The government set the target to be smokefree by 2030 back in 2019, but Dr Khan’s review found that the smoking rate is not declining quickly enough to meet this.

Sunderland’s Health and Wellbeing Board is now urging the government to take action to speed up the decline in smoking rates by acting on Dr Khan’s four key recommendations:

  • Investing an additional £125 million per year to fund increased quitting support for smokers
  • Increasing the age of sale by one year, every year until no one can buy tobacco products in England
  • Promoting vaping to help people quit smoking tobacco
  • Improving smoking prevention through the NHS, so that smokers are offered advice and support to quit during every interaction they have with GPs, hospitals, pharmacists, dentists, and other NHS services

Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board and Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Healthy City, Councillor Kelly Chequer, said: “I am proud that Sunderland is endorsing these recommendations, which would significantly improve quality of life for many residents and help towards reducing health inequalities in the city.

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“Endorsing the recommendations ties in with our Healthy City Plan, which aims to have everyone in Sunderland living healthy and happy lives, leaving no one behind.”

Sunderland’s Director of Public Health, Gerry Taylor, recently added her signature to a joint public letter from the North East Association of Directors of Public Health in support of the recommendations.

She said: “We all know how dangerous smoking is. It not only causes 16 types of cancer, as well as heart disease and other preventable illnesses, but research has found that smoking is a factor in driving over a million people into poverty.

“Sunderland is above the national average for the number of adult smokers, and smoking remains the single biggest preventable cause of premature death in the UK today. We can’t waste any time in reaching smokefree targets, and I am pleased to endorse Dr Khan’s recommendations on behalf of Sunderland.”

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