Partners look at further steps towards smoke-free borough
Rochdale Council, and Rochdale and Heywood & Middleton PCTs have welcomed the decision by MPs to back a complete ban on smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces.
This will mean that people will not be able to smoke in places such as offices, shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs and private members clubs, from summer 2007.
Councillor Allen Brett, Leader of the Council and Council 'champion' for the smoke free borough initiative, said, "I fully support the result of the vote in favour of a complete ban. Rochdale Council has had an enviable record in protecting its employees from the harmful effects of smoking since 1994, and we are now looking to extend our smoking ban to protect all employees."
The Council's no smoking policy already prohibits smoking by employees working in Council offices. Under the proposed widening, employees working in civic centre bars and other public places will also be protected from the effects of second-hand smoke at work.
Sheila Will, Director for Public Health for Rochdale borough said, "I am delighted with this decision. Smoking is the leading cause of premature death and avoidable illness in the borough. I welcome this complete ban as the single most important step a government could take to protect the public's health.
"The PCT is committed to helping anyone who has been inspired to quit smoking following the introduction of the new legislation. You can get help and support in stopping smoking by contacting our local Stop Smoking Team, TASK on 01706 708000."
It is estimated that 412 people die every year in Rochdale Borough from smoking attributable causes. In addition to the adverse health effects that smoking can have on individuals who smoke, there is also a direct link between breathing in other peoples' smoke and ill health.
Some of the immediate effects of second-hand smoke include eye irritation, headaches, coughs, sore throats, dizziness and nausea. Adults with asthma can experience a significant decline in lung function, whilst new cases of asthma may be induced in children. Short-term exposure to tobacco smoke also has a measurable effect on the heart in non-smokers and just 30 minutes exposure is enough to reduce coronary blood flow.
In the longer term, people exposed to second-hand smoke suffer an increased risk of a range of smoking-related diseases. Non-smokers, who are exposed to passive smoking in the home, have a 25 per cent increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer.
The Health Partnership within the Borough made a commitment in February 2005 to develop a strategy that would help move the borough towards being smoke free. As a result, Rochdale Council and the Rochdale and Heywood and Middleton PCTs are developing plans that will not only support the implementation of the legislation, but also introduce initiatives designed to reduce the number of people starting to smoke.
The main aim behind the legislation is to protect people from the harmful effects of second hand smoke. However, by ensuring smoke free environments it will also help those people who want to stop smoking to give up. It is estimated that as a result of the proposed ban approximately 2000 people across the borough will be helped to stop smoking. For those people who wish to continue smoking, research indicates that people will smoke approximately 3 cigarettes less per day.
If you're a smoker wishing to give up, call the NHS Stop Smoking Helpline on 0800 169 0169 or TASK, the local Stop Smoking Service on 01706 708001, between 10.00am and 2.00pm.