Hampshire County Council has welcomed the Government’s recent announcement to create a ‘smokefree generation’ by 2040. The proposed new law would prevent children born from 2009 onwards, from ever legally being sold cigarettes in England. Effectively raising the smoking age by a year, each year until it applies to the whole population.
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Adult Services and Public Health said: “Hampshire has nearly 120,000 smokers and almost every hour of every day. Someone is admitted to hospital in our county because of smoking.
“As a Local Authority we welcome this national move to help stop young people from taking up smoking. It is a highly addictive habit that often begins when people are young and impressionable yet remains with them their whole lives. Making it illegal to sell cigarettes to young people will help protect an entire generation from the harms of smoking as they grow older.”
While the number of adults smoking in Hampshire has fallen over time. According to the public health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), smoking is estimated to cost Hampshire and the county’s local economy over £348million last year. £98million of which was on health and social care costs and £246million on productivity.
The County Council is working with a wide range of partners to tackle the harmful impact of smoking.
First and foremost is the commissioning of Solutions4Health to provide a free and confidential local stop smoking service via Smokefree Hampshire. Since 2019, more than 10,000 Hampshire smokers have been helped to quit. The service offers a variety of methods for quitting, including free nicotine replacement therapy and vaping vouchers.
Hampshire residents can self-refer to Smokefree Hampshire by calling the Quitline on 01264 563039, by texting Quit to 66777 or via the website at www.smokefreehampshire.co.uk
In addition, the Local Authority’s Trading Standards officers regularly visit businesses to check measures are in place to prevent underage sales of cigarettes and vapes. And to provide information and guidance. If necessary, test purchases are carried out that can lead to prosecution.
While vapes can be a good aid for adults who want to quit smoking. Vapes should not be used by children and young people – as the full impact on young bodies is not yet fully understood. The County Council is actively working with Hampshire’s schools and colleges to ensure students, parents and carers have all the information to help tackle underage vaping. A suite of resources, including lesson plans, leaflets and posters explain the health risks to children and young people. The law regarding the use of vapes, as well as the environmental impact – especially of disposable vapes.
Anyone needing to report information concerning underage or illicit sales of cigarettes and vapes can contact Hampshire Trading Standards directly.
As part of the Government’s proposals. It is anticipated that the County Council will receive £1.5m per year in additional support until 2028/29. The majority of which is expected to be spent on expanding the Hampshire Stop Smoking Service. But could also be allocated to awareness raising, workforce training, and youth prevention activities.