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Agenda item

Smokefree Camden and Islington 2016 - 2021


Julie Billett and Liz Brutus, Assistant Director of Public Health, introduced the report which presented the Camden and Islington Smokefree Strategy 2016-21.


The following main points were noted during the discussion:


·         The importance of smoking cessation initiatives was noted. Islington had the highest prevalence of smoking in London which represented the biggest preventable risk factor that contributed to premature death.

·         It was commented that nicotine addiction was a long-term condition which often started in childhood and disproportionately affected those who were disadvantaged.

·         The Board noted successes in smoking cessation, including positive work with schools and enforcement activities such as the smokefree playgrounds initiative.

·         The Board considered the three objectives of the strategy; closing the gateways in to smoking for children and young people, helping people to quit smoking, and reducing related harm. It was commented that partnership work between Public Health, Adult Social Care and the NHS, amongst others, would be required to achieve these objectives.

·         Specific recommendations for consideration included all members of the Board working towards training all resident-facing staff to provide advice on smoking cessation; all members of the Board to embed support with stopping smoking into their workplace wellbeing programmes; a coordinated approach to preventing and tackling smoking in children and young people; mainstreaming stop smoking activity across commissioned NHS secondary care services; and introducing further designated smokefree areas.

·         It was commented that a detailed delivery plan would be developed to support the strategy.

·         The Board considered that all partners needed to support the strategy for it to be successful. Although the mainstreaming of stop smoking activity across commissioned NHS secondary care services was supported, it was commented that NHS services could not take on the sole responsibility for such activity.

·         In response to a query on how smoking cessation advice can be best provided to children and young people, it was commented that increasing the knowledge and confidence of those working with children and parents on a regular basis was crucial. It was recognised that staff did not wish to appear judgemental; however services already working with families were well placed to have difficult conversations about smoking.

·         The Board noted that those with vulnerabilities and long-term conditions, particularly mental health conditions, may require additional help to quit smoking.

·         It was commented that providing resident-facing staff with the skills to deliver advice on smoking cessation could be a powerful tool, however sustained effort would be required to embed the giving of advice into working practices. 

·         The Board discussed the smoking of cannabis. It was noted that local agencies had focused on addressing cannabis use through drug services; however there was a need to raise public awareness of the overall health effects of smoking cannabis, particularly given its prevalence and the difficulties of enforcing its use. It was reported that up to 30% of respiratory patients at the Whittington Hospital were cannabis users. It was suggested that there can be a perception that smoking cannabis was somehow less harmful than smoking tobacco which needed to be addressed. The Board also noted the detrimental effect of cannabis use on mental health. The Board requested further information on the health effects of smoking cannabis and the work underway to reduce its use.

·         It was confirmed that e-cigarettes were considered to be a legitimate tool in stopping smoking. Although e-cigarettes were not without harm, it was reported that they were significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco.



1)    That the Strategy and its ambition for Islington to be smokefree by 2030 be endorsed and championed; and

2)    Further information on the health effects of smoking cannabis and the work underway to reduce its use be submitted to the Board. 

Supporting documents: