E-cigs ‘safer’ and can help smokers quit

E-cigs safer
E-cigs safer

A plan to cut smoking rates in Lancashire – particularly targeting manual workers – has been unveiled by the county council.

Special report: 10 years on from smoking ban, has Blackpool kicked the habit?

Smoking kills 1,673 adults in the Lancashire County Council area – which excludes Blackpool – each year and costs millions of pounds in care costs.

LCC hopes that its Tobacco Control Plan, which will run until 2022, will address this. Lancashire has above the national average number of adults lighting up – 16 per cent of adults rely on nicotine, compared to 15 per cent nationally. In Blackpool, the figure is 22.5 per cent, although that had fallen in recent years.

Manual and ‘routine’ workers will be especially targeted, after it was revealed their smoking rates are much higher than average at 23.9 per cent. The plan aims to bring the smoking rate down to 12 per cent.

For the first time the council will endorse Public Health England guidance that electronic cigarettes are significantly less harmful than tobacco and help cut tobacco use.

But a report to councillors stressed: “We have no plans to fund e-cigarettes.”

It is estimated that knock on effects of smoking in Lancashire cost £291.7m each year and £50m of that goes in NHS care. The council has a £2.3m fund for its stop smoking work.

County Coun Shaun Turner, lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “We want a healthy Lancashire. It has a value for every one of us, not just the smokers.”

There were 6,789 smoking related deaths in the LCC area from 2013 to 2015. In Blackpool there were 1,188 – although its smaller population means the death rate is higher.