More support for smoking declaration

By on 22/01/2014 in Cllr Bedser, News
Cllr Steve Bedser

Cllr Steve Bedser

Cllr Steve Bedser has reiterated his call for the Government to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes, after health organisations in Birmingham backed the latest move in the fight against smoking.

Last month Birmingham City Council became the largest local authority to sign the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control. That decision has now been endorsed by members of Birmingham Health and Wellbeing Board.

Every year almost 5,000 people die in Birmingham from a smoking related disease and the declaration highlights the ongoing commitment to:

  • reducing smoking prevalence and health inequalities
  • developing plans with partners and local communities
  • participating in local and regional networks
  • supporting Government action at national level
  • protecting tobacco control work from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry
  • joining the Smokefree Action Coalition

The Declaration, which has been endorsed by leading figures including the Public Health Minister and the Chief Medical Officer, underlines the city council's commitment to protecting local communities from the harm caused by smoking.

And Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Bedser, welcomed the support of his Health and Wellbeing Board colleagues. He said: “This shows the determination in Birmingham to reduce the misery caused by smoking in Birmingham.

“Almost 5,000 people in Birmingham die from a smoking related disease every single year and the tobacco industry does everything it can to replace those lost customers. As a consequence, every single day in our city, nine young people take up smoking.

“By signing the declaration, we signal our determination to reducing those depressing statistics, but we need action on a national level and the single biggest thing the Government could do is to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes.

“The evidence in support of plain packaging is overwhelming and we need action now.”

Smoking in Birmingham

Smoking causes significant economic burden both in terms of increased health expenditure and cost to the Birmingham economy in the form of absenteeism, working days lost and premature retirement.

Premature deaths from smoking are estimated to cost the Birmingham economy £24m each year.

In the UK the majority of smokers start before the age of 18 and in Birmingham, around a third of 16-24 year olds are actively smoking.

In Birmingham around 1 in 5 adults smoke, equating to around 185,000 smokers.

Every year over 4,500 people die in Birmingham from a smoking related disease.

Smoking is directly linked with Birmingham's three biggest killers, and is directly attributable to:

  • 1 in 4 of all cancers,
  • 1 in 5 deaths from cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke),
  • 1 in 3 of all deaths from respiratory disease

About half of all smokers die from smoking-related diseases. If you are a long-term smoker, on average, your life expectancy is about 10 years less than a non-smoker.

Put another way, in the UK about 8 in 10 non-smokers live past the age of 70, but only about half of long-term smokers live past 70. The younger you are when you start smoking, the more likely you are to smoke for longer and to die early from smoking.

Stop smoking in Birmingham

Giving up smoking is not easy but with help and support from our stop smoking service, you are up to four times more likely to stop than with will power alone.

For friendly, expert advice and support on how to quit smoking, call the Birmingham stop smoking service on 0800 052 5855 free or text ‘QUIT’ to 80800.

For more information about Stop Smoking services in Birmingham, go to:

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There is 1 Brilliant Comment

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  1. People not £ says:

    I am sad to see that you continue to quote a cost to the economy from people dying.

    If we were purely worried about the costs to the economy what about the additional 206 Million pounds paid in taxes by the 185,000 smokers in Birmingham (based on people smoking 10 cigarettes per day).

    This income would be lost if everyone in Birmingham stopped smoking. Even with the £24 million pound saved with people not dying, there would still be a net loss to the UK economy of £182 million pounds from Birmingham residence alone.

    Also people dying early puts less of a strain on the benefits systems in terms of pensions and later life care, so there would be extra costs involved by the 4500 people a year not dying from smoking related illnesses.

    However I am not trying to make this an argument for smoking. smoking is a terrible habit and no-one should start and everyone should be encouraged to stop smoking for their health and their families.

    Simply put peoples deaths should be seen as a human loss and not an economic one. So please stop attaching an economic cost to peoples deaths.

    Figures calculated from using this source: