A drive to reduce tobacco use among Croydon residents is set to receive a significant boost when the leader of Croydon Council signs the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control.
The declaration puts a spotlight on the harmful effects of smoking tobacco. With the signing, Croydon will be joining other local authorities in uniting behind the call to rid the country of tobacco-related harm through a reduction in its sale and promotion. It is a shocking fact that two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18.
Signatories to the declaration acknowledge that smoking is the single greatest cause of premature death and disease in our communities. Reducing smoking in our communities significantly increases household incomes and benefits the local economy, and reducing smoking among the most disadvantaged in our communities is the single most important means of reducing health inequalities.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council, signed the declaration on Wednesday (10) at the Health and Wellbeing Board meeting.
The Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control is spearheaded by some of the country’s most senior health professionals, including public health minister Jane Ellison; Duncan Selbie, chief executive, Public Health England; and Professor Dame Sally Davies, the UK’s chief medical officer.
The signing of the document commits the council, among other things, to:
- act at a local level to reduce smoking prevalence and health inequalities and to raise the profile of the harm caused by smoking to the borough’s communities;
- develop plans with partners and local communities to address the causes and impacts of tobacco use;
- protect its tobacco control work from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry by not accepting any partnerships, payments, gifts and services, monetary or in kind or research funding offered by the tobacco industry to officials or employees.
Croydon has long campaigned to reduce tobacco use across the borough. Following the signing of the declaration, the council will be taking action to warn residents and businesses of the health risks of waterpipe smoking, more commonly known as shisha hookahs or hubble-bubble pipes. The council is also considering measures to protect children from exposure to smoke in children’s playgrounds.
New guidance from the council will soon be distributed to known shisha bar businesses to remind them of the legal implications of failing to comply with smoking laws associated with tobacco sales. Information to clarify common misconceptions surrounding the use of shisha has already been sent to all schools as there are some indications of the growing use of shisha among young people.
The council will be working with shisha bars to ensure they are compliant with smoke-free laws and restrictions that pertain to these premises, such as appropriate signage, ventilation and age restrictions.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
“Smoking tobacco kills thousands of people every year, and we’re proud to sign the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control and join a significant movement to cut out this epidemic in our communities.
“The sterling work carried out by our health, environment and trading standards teams has already made inroads into helping our residents to quit smoking, as well as clamping down on illegal tobacco sales and fighting to keep our streets clean and free from discarded cigarette butts.
“This is an opportunity for local government to show we’re serious about our residents’ health by leading local action to tackle smoking and secure the health, welfare, social, economic and environmental benefits that come from reducing smoking prevalence.”