Wales aims to become a tobacco-free nation by 2030
Wales aims to become a tobacco-free nation by the end of this decade.
Around 14% of the population currently take up the habit, but the Welsh Government believe it can reduce this figure to less than 5% by 2030 with the right targeted intervention.
Addressing health inequities and increasing support for those who want to quit smoking are high on the list of priorities for reducing smoking rates. There remain strong links between smoking and deprivation, with people in poorer areas being more likely to smoke.
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It is estimated that the Welsh NHS spends around £302million each year on smoking-related illnesses and diseases. Smoking is still the number one cause of death and illness in Wales and is considered one of the main causes of health inequalities in the country.
Last November the Welsh Government launched a national consultation which will help shape Wales’ long-term tobacco control strategy – and it is calling on the public to get involved before the March 31 deadline.
Last year Wales became the first UK country to introduce smoke-free playgrounds, school grounds and hospital grounds. Most recently, on March 1, 2022, smoking in hotel and guesthouse rooms was banned, along with smoke-free requirements introduced in self-contained holiday accommodation such as cottages and caravans.
Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, said: “Our ambition is to make Wales smoke-free and to help people make choices to improve their health and well-being. Although we are already leading the way, we know that more can be completed.
“We want people across Wales to share their views on what can be done to tackle the major health inequalities caused by smoking. By joining the consultation you will play an active role in ensuring the next generation, and everyone in Wales will be able to enjoy healthier, smoke-free lives.”
The new plans will also look at how further support can be provided to help more people quit smoking through the free NHS Help Me Quit service, as well as exploring how publicly funded organizations could be urged to be smoke-free and helping workers get advice. and support to quit.
According to the charity Ash Wales, around 45% of Welsh smokers attempt to quit each year. However, only 3% of them access NHS smoking cessation help each year, despite research showing that help can triple success.
This year, their campaign message centers around ‘Never Quit Quitting’, which encourages smokers not to quit because every quit attempt brings a smoker closer to success.
Ash Cymru CEO Suzanne Cass called on smokers to use No Tobacco Day, March 9, as a catalyst for change. She said: “Today is another solid reason to take charge of your health and quit smoking. For anyone who has struggled to quit smoking, you are not alone and there are services here to support you.
“The NHS Help Me Quit service is a brilliant resource that offers fantastic support for people who want to quit smoking. Such support can triple your chances of quitting smoking.”
Members of the Senedd joined the campaigns efforts by meeting with Ash Cymru and offering their support. John Griffiths MS, Chair of the All-Party Group on Tobacco and Health, said: “I encourage anyone to seek help and not quit smoking, as smoking remains the leading cause of ill health and death. premature in Wales.
“No Tobacco Day is a brilliant cause, which not only highlights the support options available in Wales, but also highlights the benefits of quitting smoking.”
In as little as eight hours after quitting smoking, a smoker’s carbon monoxide levels drop by half and are significantly reduced after two days. After two weeks, blood circulation improves and after three to nine months, lung function can increase by up to 10%. In the year following the cessation of smoking, the risk of heart attack is halved compared to the risk of a current smoker.
In addition to improving health, quitting smoking also has financial benefits. Research by Cancer Research UK has estimated that the average smoker could save over £2,000 a year if they successfully quit.
To have your say on how Wales should create a smoke-free society, visit gov.wales/consultations
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