Posted: Tue 26th Jul 2022

New strategy revealed to cut number of smokers in Wales and prevent health issues

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jul 26th, 2022

A new long-term strategy to reduce the number of smokers in Wales by 2030 has been unveiled.

The Smoke-free Wales Delivery Plan 2022-24 focuses on three priorities – reducing inequalities, future generations and a whole-system approach for a smoke-free Wales.

It sets out how the Welsh Government aims to cut smoking prevalence amongst adults to five per cent or less over the next eight years.

This is seen as a key milestone in “eradicating the harm” caused by tobacco by preventing smoking related illnesses and deaths.

It is estimated that 13 per cent of the Welsh population smoke. However the Welsh Government says this is not evenly distributed, with those living in “more deprived communities” described as being much more likely to smoke than those in the least deprived areas.

The long-term strategy outlines it vision for a smoke-free Wales, by making smoke-free the norm, providing more support to help smokers quit, treating smoking as an addiction and not a lifestyle choice and exploring innovation in both prevention and cessation support that could help meet the target of a smoke-free Wales.

The plan also highlights how the Welsh Government aims to tackle what it describes as the “engrained health inequalities associated with smoking and focus on those groups in our society where rates of smoking are the highest, who have a higher risk of taking up smoking, or who feel the health impacts of smoking the most.”

This will be carried out by working in collaboration with these priority groups and by taking a community-led approach to tobacco control.

By 2030 the Welsh Government aims to:

● Focus on reducing the inequalities caused by smoking.
● Work with smokers to better understand what is stopping them from quitting and what support they need to overcome their barriers, and support smokers to become smoke-free.
● Reduce the uptake of smoking in Wales for those at highest risk of taking up smoking.
● Ensure appropriate smoking cessation support is available to all, with targeted support available for those groups with higher smoking prevalence.

Work will also be carried out to help make smoke-free environments the norm for children and young people in Wales, breaking generational smoking patterns and by increasing the proportion of teenagers and young people who remain smokefree by reducing the uptake of smoking, whilst also discouraging the uptake of e-cigarettes or other nicotine products in teenagers and young people.

Resources will also be out into taking further steps to protect people from second-hand smoke and reviewing the tobacco control enforcement and sanctions systems in Wales, including for illegal tobacco.

Lynne Neagle, Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, said: “We have consulted and engaged widely on both these important documents. We were also keen to learn from past experiences on tobacco control and therefore commissioned a review of our previous strategy (published in 2012) and delivery plans.

“I have carefully considered the responses and a number of changes have been made to the strategy and delivery plan. I was pleased to see the support for our ambition to create a smoke-free Wales by 2030 and for the three themes identified in the strategy.

“I also noted from the feedback the clear importance of protecting children, young people and future generations from the dangers of tobacco and that addressing maternal smoking should be a key priority for us in achieving a smoke-free society.

“We have therefore strengthened our commitment to addressing these areas in response. We will also work with people and communities to understand the reasons for higher smoking rates among some groups in society and to develop effective support measures to help people quit smoking.

“As a government, we are committed to delivering meaningful changes to tackle health inequalities, preventing ill health and supporting people to make healthier choices.

“Working towards a smoke-free Wales and supporting people to stop smoking is a key part of this.

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