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Strategy to make Suffolk “smoke free” set to be launched, leading to renewed calls for county council to disinvest from tobacco firms

PUBLISHED: 10:10 08 January 2015 | UPDATED: 10:10 08 January 2015

Public health body to launch strategy aimed at gettting Suffolk

Public health body to launch strategy aimed at gettting Suffolk "smoke free"

Archant

Public health officials at Suffolk County Council are set to launch a new strategy aimed at making Suffolk “smoke free” – despite the authority still investing millions of pounds in tobacco firms.

Latest figures estimate smoking-related illnesses cause more than 1,100 deaths in Suffolk and a number of recommendations to bring down the number of smokers in the county have been laid out in a report to the county’s health and wellbeing board.

This includes developing smoking prevention programmes for schools and youth organisations.

The document has been welcomed, but has also led to renewed calls for the council to cease investing pension fund money in tobacco firms, an issue which has raged since the authority took on public health duties in 2013.

Sandy Martin, Labour group leader at the council, said he would welcome a campaign to help people stop smoking.

On the issue of the pension fund investment, he added: “We have made it perfectly clear what we think about the county council investing (the pension fund) in tobacco and the majority of the rest of the county council have agreed with us.

“There is a process that needs to be gone through (to end the investment) but if the county council has failed to sort this out within a fairly short period of time, I think people will begin to question it and if they are committed to making it happen.”

Last year the council, which as of November had £40million invested in the industry, voted to disinvest if an alternative could be found. A final decision is due to be made in February.

A council spokesman added: “The Pensions Committee has instructed officers to investigate the legal position surrounding tobacco disinvestment, a report will go to the next committee meeting.”

The smoke-free strategy itself aims to dramatically drive down the number of smokers in the county.

It is focusing on creating environments where people choose not to smoke, protecting people from second-hand smoke and enabling people to quit.

Recommendations to achieve the goal include developing smoking prevention programmes and focusing on underage sales.

Addressing the figures over smoking-related deaths and ill health in Suffolk, Alan Murray, county council cabinet member for health and adult care, said: “This makes reducing tobacco consumption a priority for Suffolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board, which is why we are discussing possible recommendations next week, to adopt a range of measures to take action and seek commitment from all partners to cut smoking in every home and business.

“Our principal aim is to prevent young people from getting started in the first place and we have set a vision for a tobacco-free generation.”

Campaigners have welcomed the county council’s new strategy to reduce the number of people smoking in Suffolk, which currently stands at about one in five people in the county.

The report suggests there needs to be a change in the county’s approach to tobacco.

Officials say a successful strategy will help protect children and young people from harm and improving healthy life expectancy.

Amanda Sandford, information manager at Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), described the tobacco plan as “very encouraging”.

She added: “Smoking places a huge financial and health burden on local communities so if this plan is implemented it will not only lead to a healthier population but will also result in considerable cost savings for the council and the local population.”

15 comments

  • So what about Fat people then ? Fast foods cause massive problems to peoples health too . Diabetes and heart disease for starters ..... What about those people who have unfortunate genes which make them ill or inherit diseases , should they be exterminated ? What about motorcyclists who are more prone to being seriously injured and therefore a buirden on society ....Where does it stop ? This article is about where money is invested , well as most people have a pension we would want those running it to invest wisely , every pension fund has Tobacco companies in their portfolios so SCC are no different . Just an excuse for another press article .

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Friday, January 9, 2015

  • To put things in real perspective...but you won't... If we are serious about health, and costs to the taxpayer, as opposed to taking the more palatable option at electoral time, secondhand fumes from traffic are vastly more a risk to everyones health. As for costs, drinking harms not only the drinker but costs millions in court cases, extra policing, physical danger to hospital staff and wives etc. I have yet to see any refuges for the wives of smokers or a smoker vandalising anything or beating someone up cos of their habit. I therefore suggest all traffic should be banned from built up areas and that alcohol be banned from enclosed spaces and the cost increased by 500% to deter people. Equally, obesity is more costly to the tax payer so all takeaway food should be banned.

    Report this comment

    Sarky Sage

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Tobacco shares are not the only good investment and ethically SCCs position is untenable. Failure to act shows they really don't care what ratepayers think.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • waspie's wife ...GREAT. Smoke free restaurants and places are great. Does that mean we won't have to go past them in hospital entrances or fronts of supermarkets, Next a drug free Ipswich as well. Then bring back old licensing laws.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • They are tackling this from the wrong end. A smoker will defend to their last breath their right to smoke and how much tax it generates, but nobody challenges the tobacco companies when it comes to the chemical nasties that they add to their product. Likewise, shops caught selling fake and cheap imported tobacco get a slap on the wrist when they should be closed down for good.

    Report this comment

    Sentinel Red

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Poppy I would love to see them go up to £25 a packet just like some of the expensive spirit's are ,only problem is there would be a big market for the illegal ones

    Report this comment

    Roadrunner

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • If people want to smoke they should do so in their own home's , not in general public ,,, Smoking should definitely be band in our town center's ,,, Carr St in Ipswich absolutely stink of the yobbos fags and filthy fag smelling cloth's that ain't been washed for month's and they should pay for medical treatment when its related to smoking

    Report this comment

    Roadrunner

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Well for once I agree with Poppys Dad. The tax on cigarettes massively outweighs the money used to treat smoking related diseases, that my friends is a fact. Add to that the fact that smokers die younger and don't clog up hospitals and state funded old peoples homes. It is only smokers and foreign staff that are keeping the NHS going.

    Report this comment

    Drew Peacock

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Bit of an odd one as I live near ipswich hospital and the amount of health workers who stubb their fags out on the heath road by them silver ash tray things is quite alarming..health workers who smoke ? pot kettle black.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • The council have a duty to their pension fund members to get the best returns possible for their investment. If that means tobacco firms then so be it.

    Report this comment

    Sudders

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Absolutely right Poppy's Dad. High alcohol use can also cause other problems, such as domestic violence, street violence and death or injury through drink driving. All of which adds pressure to the already over burdened A & E departments.

    Report this comment

    Captain Slog

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Alcohol causes problems to health as doe drugs , why single out the smokers ? If everyone in the UK stopped smoking the country would collapse as it would have no way of recouping the vast amounts of tax that it receives from the sale . Saw yesterday a packet of B&H was £9.59 - thats got to be £7 a packet - The Govt takes £12,7 billion in tax recipts relating to tobacco .

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • It's right to do whatever is possible to encourage people not to smoke but while SCCs pension fund continues to profit from the trade it appears that, as with many other things, SCC are just paying lip service to the policy. Don't do as I do, do as I say!

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • @clowe What a pathetic comment. While we continue to have a socialised healthcare system in the UK we all pay the price for the damage smokers do to themselves and to others. While I am not advocating withholding medical treatment from smokers because their health problems are "self inflicted" I do think that everyone has some sort of communal responsibility to ensuring they minimise their personal burden on a very stretched health service. It doesn't mean we all should have the freedom to destroy our health and expect someone else to pick up the tab for our treatment.

    Report this comment

    Origami Penguin

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Will never happen, the more you try to enforce rules on people, the more they will rebel.If people wish to smoke, it is up to them and not the nanny state to say otherwise

    Report this comment

    clowe

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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