Up to £23 million will be spent from April 2025 over the following seven years to support Hampshire smokers to quit, and to help stop people taking up the habit in the first place.

In approving the spend, said: “Smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of ill health and premature death in England, costing the taxpayer millions and placing a huge burden on the NHS and social care.  Helping people to quit smoking therefore is vital and is one of our key statutory responsibilities.”

“However giving up the habit is hard, and many need extra support to do so.

“We share the Government’s ambition to create a smoke-free generation– and delivering this, lies at the heart of our plans for the next few years.”

The County Council’s current commissioned service, Smokefree Hampshire, offers stop smoking support that is personalised to meet the needs of its clients, whether this is support with the help of an advisor or self-support with a digital coaching app.

Currently some 3,500 people in Hampshire are supported to quit each year via this service.

Future plans additionally include more support for children and young people to quit electronic cigarettes (vapes) via a dedicated service working through local schools and colleges – this builds on current prevention work to establish smokefree sites and provide resources for teachers and parents around smoking and vaping. More targeted work to reach groups who traditionally do not engage with formal support services will also take place, alongside plans for training up Hampshire’s wider health and social care workforce to be confident in encouraging, advising and signposting smokers to the quit services available.

Cllr Fairhurst added: “While the good news is that we’re seeing an overall decline in the numbers taking up smoking, we need to do more to protect our children from the many health problems it causes. That’s why a bigger part of our work in future will focus on younger people, and dedicated smokers, who are traditionally resistant to the idea of quitting.”

In 2022, it was estimated that 10.5% of adults living in Hampshire smoked. It is also estimated that some 4,500 Hampshire residents die, and 8,600 residents are admitted to hospital each year because of smoking.

Local Authorities’ Public Health budgets are ‘ring-fenced’ by Government. This means they cannot be spent on funding other services.