In Wakefield, smoking is attributable for around a third of deaths and 4,700 hospital admissions each year are attributable to smoking. The Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) 2019 Ready Reckoner tool estimates that smoking costs Wakefield around £95.1 million a year.
Cigarette production and consumption has seen dramatic growth in recent decades and although the health effects of smoking are widely recognised, its impacts on the environment are often overlooked.
When we think about the how smoking impacts on the environment, the obvious link between ‘tobacco’ and ‘pollution’ is cigarette smoke, discarded packaging and cigarette butts. It is important to note however that the whole life cycle of tobacco – from farming, to manufacture to consumption impacts negatively, threatens and damages our environment. This results in tobacco putting pressure on the planet’s already stressed natural resources and fragile ecosystems. For further information on how tobacco impacts negatively via farming, manufacture and consumption click here.
Cigarette butts are the single most littered item in England (ASH, 2018). In Wakefield it is estimated that smoking materials constitute 35% of all street litter and there are enough cigarette butts discarded on the streets to fill 419 standard wheelie bins each year!
As part of our Smokefree Tobacco Control Plan in Wakefield, the Council are currently working on increasing the number of smokefree environments to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and at the same time de-normalise smoking to children and young people. By educating young people on the dangers of smoking and providing them with smoke-free places to enjoy, this will hopefully ensure they make good choices as adults as well and in turn will have a positive impact on both health and the environment.
Watch a video here from when Wakefield Council interviewed local children about the harms of smoking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG5Z_wByRDQ
Get help to quit smoking
People can get free and confidential expert advice for stopping smoking from their local stop smoking service (Yorkshire Smokefree Wakefield) which continues to provide support via telephone and online during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
For telephone support call 0800 612 0011 (free from landlines) or 0330 6601 166 (free from most mobiles) or to quit online visit: www.yorkshiresmokefree.nhs.uk