“Together we will make smoking history in Oldham”


Posted: Friday 01 October 2021

Top health experts commit to the new Oldham Tobacco Alliance and make the borough a smoke-free neighborhood by 2030.

On Wednesday September 29, a panel was held at Queen Elizabeth Hall in Oldham, the event was based on a question: how do we write the history of smoking?

Hosted by Oldham Council, Oldham Cares and Your Health Oldham and moderated by the BBC’s Kevin Fitzpatrick, members of the public heard a panel of experts on the challenges we face in ending tobacco use and the progress made so far. here.

The panel was composed of:

  • Kevin Fitzpatrick (host) who worked as a journalist, presenter and producer for the BBC for 15 years. He has reported on Radio 5 Live and Radio 4 and currently works for BBC North West Tonight and the Sunday Politics program.
  • Professor Peter Hajek, Professor Peter Hajek is Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Health and Lifestyle Research Unit at the Wolfsen Institute for Preventive Medicine.
  • Dr Alex Bobak, GP in Wandsworth, South London. He started running specialist quit smoking clinics in 2001 and became the UK’s first smoking cessation GPSI.
  • Louise Ross who ran the Leicester City Stop Smoking Service, the world’s first service suitable for electronic cigarettes. She is also a director of the New Tobacco Alliance.
  • Elizabeth Woodworth, Manager of Smoking Cessation Services for ABL Health.

Oldham Public Health Director Katrina Stephens said: “It was great to see so many passionate people coming together to share their thoughts and suggestions on how we can make smoking history in Oldham.

“There is a long way to go, but we have made progress so far: the prevalence of smoking among adults has increased from 24.2% in 2012 to 17.9% in 2019. To protect others from harm second-hand smoke, has discouraged young people from starting to smoke, and offered support to people considering quitting.

One of the main issues discussed was that smoking is the leading preventable cause of health inequalities. Zahid Chauhan, cabinet member of the Oldham Board of Health and Human Services, said: “We know that smoking is much more common among routine and manual workers, people with mental disorders, prisoners, children in care and the LGBTQ + community, and the more disadvantaged a person is, the more likely they are to smoke and suffer from smoking-related illnesses and premature death.

“We must act now to improve health outcomes and tackle the inequalities we see. I am proud of what we have achieved so far, but we still have a long way to go to write the history of smoking in Oldham and achieve the ambition to be smoke free by 2030.

The Oldham Tobacco Alliance will help achieve this ambition and coordinate and contribute to tobacco control work to:

  • make smoking less accessible, acceptable and desirable
  • make it possible to quit smoking successfully
  • preventing young people from starting to smoke in the first place
  • improve the health and well-being of the people of Oldham; and reduce the health inequalities experienced by some of our communities as a result of smoking and the harms of tobacco.

Raz Mohammed, Community Manager for ABL Health, said: “Quitting smoking is the most important thing you can do for your health. Quitting smoking is often not easy, but with the right guidance and support, any smoker can. If you want help quitting smoking, there is support available to help you.

For all the details on how to quit smoking:

  • Smoking Cessation – Your Health Oldham’s specialized smoking cessation service for residents of Oldham and those registered with an Oldham GP.
  • Tips for Quitting Smoking – Oldham Council website for more information and resources.

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