Campaign to lower smoking rates in Redbridge should not be a priority, lobbying group claim

ASH wants 95% of residents not to smoke. Picture: PA

ASH wants 95% of residents not to smoke. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The number of residents smoking should be cut to below 5per cent by 2029, a campaign group has advised.

Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) is calling on Redbridge Council to encourage more people to stop smoking by using its The End of Smoking tool kit.

It also wants the borough to set a smoking prevalence goal to help more inhalers stub the habit out.

Deborah Arnott, Ash chief executive, said: "Smokers should feel confident that the more often they try to quit, the more likely they are to succeed, and the best advice is to make at least one serious quit attempt a year.

"There are more ways to quit than ever before, from e-cigarettes to licensed medications and from stop smoking services providing face to face behavioural support to online quitting aids."

A Redbridge Council spokeswoman said it is launching a re-designed service this summer for those who find quitting smoking "particularly challenging".

"We are doing everything we can to support those who want to quit," she said.

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"We have a stop smoking service that is run by experienced and specialist advisors who offer regular one-to-one support.

"Our residents can also use the pan-London Stop Smoking helpline.

"On July 17, Redbridge will also take part in London-wide illegal tobacco roadshow which raises awareness of illegal tobacco and its impact."

However, Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest) said there are far more important matters for the council to be focusing on such as housing.

"Polls show there is very little appetite for local authorities to spend public money on further anti-smoking initiatives," said Simon Clark, director of Forest.

"There are far more important issues for local authorities to address like housing strategy, environmental issues and the maintenance of roads.

"Managing people's lifestyle, whether it's tackling obesity, alcohol misuse or smoking, is generally considered the least important priority for local government."

"If adults make an informed choice to smoke in full knowledge of the health risks that's a matter for them not local authorities or ASH."