Borough Council highlights plans to reduce smoking in Swindon

A new tobacco control strategy for Swindon is looking to build a smokefree Swindon where everyone lives a long and healthy life protected from the harms caused by tobacco.

The strategy highlights the health and financial impact smoking currently has on the people living in Swindon and particularly those in more disadvantaged areas of the county.

It also includes ambitious targets in terms of smoking reduction including reducing the prevalence of smoking in the adult population from 12.5 per cent to 5 per cent by 2028, reducing the prevalence of smoking in routine and manual workers from 22.9 per cent to below 10 per cent and reducing  the prevalence of smoking in those with a serious mental illness from 40 per cent to below 20 per cent.

It outlines six priorities for reducing the number of people smoking in Swindon and action for how to tackle the issue.

Priorities covered in the report are:

  • Focus on health inequalities and target resources for those that need them most
  • Protect children and prevent young people from taking up smoking and vaping
  • Support a smokefree environment
  • Communicate hope and increase quit attempts
  • Reduce the availability and access to illegal tobacco and illegal nicotine vaping products in the community
  • Raise the profile of tobacco control and local services through marketing and communications programmes

Actions to help reduce smoking include ensuring that the most vulnerable children and young people are supported not to start smoking or vaping, identifying and supporting those who are most vulnerable to smoking addiction and prioritising smokefree places within the most deprived areas with the highest prevalence in order to support an environment that incentivises quitting over smoking.

Steve Maddern, Director of Public Health and Swindon Borough Council and Councillor Brian Ford, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health said:

“The declining rates of smoking and tobacco use in the general population, mask the inequalities of persistently high rates within our most vulnerable communities, such as those with serious mental health conditions, where the prevalence of smoking is three times that of the general population.

“Health and social care services in Swindon are already under pressure and smoking has a significant financial cost and impact on the demand for services across the borough. For these reasons, addressing smoking has been identified as a priority for Swindon and we are pleased to present Swindon’s Tobacco Control Strategy 2023-2028, with ambitions to end smoking and tobacco use for good.”

Smoking in Swindon:

  • Smoking kills around four people a week in Swindon and for every person that dies, another 20 are living with a smoking related illness.
  • Smoking is the biggest cause of fatal fires in the home and tobacco addiction plunges nearly 4000 households across Swindon into poverty, impacting on 3,500 children.
  • It is estimated that each year in Swindon smoking costs the community approximately £69.2 million.
  • This includes the costs of NHS care, social care, passive smoking, household fires, litter and lost productivity.
  • Tobacco addiction costs individuals in Swindon around £1,945 a year, with national data suggesting that the most vulnerable communities spend five times more of their weekly household budget on smoking.