Tobacco use remains one of our most significant public health challenges. One in two people who use tobacco will die as a direct consequence of its use. Whilst smoking rates have declined over recent decades, prevalence in South Gloucestershire remains around 14% or just under 30,000 smokers. This figure is below the England average, however it masks huge inequalities within our area with smoking prevalence around 24% in some communities such as routine and manual workers. Smoking is the biggest contributor to poor physical health outcomes for people with mental health problems. National data tells us that smoking prevalence amongst this group is much higher than in the general population with rates as high as 32% amongst people with a common mental health disorder, and higher still in people with more severe disease.
Smoking is the single biggest contributing factor to the gap in health between socio-economic groups and tackling these inequalities will be the core challenge for South Gloucestershire’s approach to tobacco control in the years ahead.
We aim to do this by working collaboratively with teams within and outside South Gloucestershire Council using evidence and recommendations from the 2016 Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and knowledge of the wider determinants of health to focus our work. We will work in partnership with communities to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.
We will achieve this by using our limited resources efficiently, including maximising the use of digital assets in order to achieve better outcomes for heath.