Bucks takes a stand against ‘vested interests’ of tobacco industry

Representatives of the Buckinghamshire signatories to the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control at County Hall, Aylesbury
Representatives of the Buckinghamshire signatories to the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control at County Hall, Aylesbury

Councils in Bucks have become the first in the country to sign a declaration on tobacco control aimed at cutting the number of smokers in the county.

The four district councils joined the county council to become the first full two-tier local authority area in England to jointly sign the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control.

The declaration is based on the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Signatories acknowledge that ‘smoking is an epidemic created and sustained by the tobacco industry, which promotes uptake of smoking to replace the 80,000 people its products kill in England every year’.

They are also committed to acting ‘at a local level to reduce smoking prevalence’ and protecting their ‘tobacco control work from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry by not accepting any partnerships, payments, gifts and services, monetary or in kind or research funding offered by the tobacco industry to officials or employees’.

Buckinghamshire County Council deputy cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Carl Etholen, said: “This declaration sets out our local authorities’ firm commitment to work together to tackle the greatest cause of premature death in our communities – smoking. We’re pleased to join authorities across the country in making this stand on the health damage caused by tobacco”.

Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy for smoking action group ASH said: “Tackling tobacco can transform lives and communities, reduce inequalities and put cash back in the pockets of those who need it most.

“We are delighted to be celebrating Buckinghamshire as the first area in the country where all district councils, NHS organisations and the county council have signed up to these commitments. Leadership of this kind from local government and the NHS is vital if we’re to be successful in reducing smoking.”