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Updated NICE support to help local authorities tackle tobacco use

An updated briefing to help local authorities and partner organisations tackle tobacco use is published yesterday (Wednesday 21 January).

The NICE local government briefing summarises its new recommendations on effective actions to reduce the harm from smoking, helping people in South Asian communities to stop using smokeless tobacco (tobacco which is chewed or sucked, such as Pan Masala), and smoking cessation help for people attending or working in hospitals.

As well as being the single biggest cause of preventable deaths in England, smoking is also the primary reason for the gap in life expectancy between rich and poor. Workers in routine and manual jobs are twice as likely to smoke as those in managerial and professional roles. South Asian women (some of the main users of smokeless tobacco in the UK) are 3.7 times more likely to develop oral cancer than other women. This briefing can support local authorities in meeting their responsibility to address health inequalities linked to using tobacco.

Professor Gillian Leng, NICE deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, said: “Tobacco use kills over 80,000 people each year, and a report from Action on Smoking and Health calculated that smoking costs local authorities more than £600 million a year in terms of social care services. Local authorities are under pressure to make public health decisions that offer value for money and help people in their area keep healthy. Most of the smoking interventions recommended by NICE are considered highly cost effective and some save money. This briefing highlights new and existing NICE guidance recommendations that can improve the health of local people, and which make the best use of resources and provide good value for money.”

The recommendations for local authorities highlighted in the briefing include:

making your organisation an exemplar in smokefree policies and in the support provided to help employees stop smoking
planning and commissioning smoking prevention and cessation in schools with national, local and regional partners; working together on mass media campaigns for under 18s
ensuring that environmental health and trading standards services prioritise tobacco control
including tobacco harm‑reduction approaches when commissioning tobacco control services to help people who are not ready to give up smoking in one step
involving local communities and target groups in encouraging people to stop smoking. This includes working with South Asian communities to encourage people to stop using smokeless tobacco
promoting access to stop smoking services to pregnant women who smoke at every contact with professionals in children’s centres, teenage pregnancy services and youth services.
The local government briefing on tobacco is available at

For more information call Dr Tonya Gillis at the NICE press office on 0300 323 0142 or out of hours on 07775 583 813.

Notes to Editors

About the new Local Government Public Health Briefing

1. The new briefing ‘Tobacco’ is available at:

2. This new briefing updates the information provided in the June 2012 document which included preventing people from starting to smoke and helping people stop smoking.

3. The report ‘The Costs of Smoking to the Social Care System and Society in England’ from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) estimated that the costs of smoking to local authorities for the (domiciliary) social care system are in the region of £600 million per year.

4. NICE’s local government briefings aim to help councillors and local authority staff find out which public health actions are most effective in improving the health of people in their area, while also providing the best value for money. Based on recommendations from existing NICE public health, clinical guidance and quality standards, the briefings have been developed with input from the independent Local Government Reference Group. The group comprises councillors, local government officers, and others with an interest in community health and wellbeing. The briefings are in addition to NICE’s ongoing programme producing public health guidance. Topics covered include health visiting, physical activity and workplace health, alcohol, health inequalities and behaviour change.

About NICE

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for driving improvement and excellence in the health and social care system. We develop guidance, standards and information on high-quality health and social care. We also advise on ways to promote healthy living and prevent ill health.

Our aim is to help practitioners deliver the best possible care and give people the most effective treatments, which are based on the most up-to-date evidence and provide value for money, in order to reduce inequalities and variation.

Our products and resources are produced for the NHS, local authorities, care providers, charities, and anyone who has a responsibility for commissioning or providing healthcare, public health or social care services.

To find out more about what we do, visit our and follow us on Twitter: @NICEComms.

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