London party

Quit smoking project launched in London

The London Tobacco Alliance (LTA) was launched last week to help partner organizations work better together to prioritize the health of Londoners, promote smoke-free environments and reduce health inequalities associated with smoking.

Partners include directors of public health, representatives from the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities, the NHS, councils, the Greater London Authority, voluntary organizations and academic institutions.

Chris Streather, Medical Director of NHS England in London, said: “Smoking is probably the thing that causes the most preventable harm to our people. We made real progress 20 years ago in restricting smoking in public places. But since then we haven’t done so many great things that have made a difference. There is still an extremely large number of people who still smoke and, worryingly, there are many pregnant women who smoke. So now is a very good time, especially as we recover from the pandemic, to focus on the things we can do to avoid harming large numbers of people.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Regional Director of the London Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, said: “Regional tobacco alliances work. We have great examples of where they have been very effective in other parts of the country and now we want to bring the learning and expertise from that to apply them here in London. Through the alliance, we will be able to understand what is being delivered in the city right now, where the gaps are, and how, working together, we can help close those gaps and ensure we are more than the sum of our parts.

Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow and Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Tobacco, said: “My parents died when I was 23. They both died of cancer. Both died from smoking. We had two years before their death a terrible experience, in terms of health and me to see my parents die literally in front of me. I don’t want a family to go through this and so for me it’s not just a health issue or a community issue. For me it’s personal.

“If we can actually make this work, we will reduce the terrible impact tobacco has on society.”

Tracy Parr, Program Director for London Tobacco Alliance and Stop Smoking London, said: “The London Tobacco Alliance will act as a regional voice to make London smoke-free by 2030 and will focus on the inequalities around smoking. We already have a number of key partners, including OHID, ASH, NHS England, GLA as well as the directors of public health and business standards in London.

“The Alliance works by bringing together partners and experts, to share best practices, innovations and up-to-date information, as well as to identify opportunities to combat illicit tobacco.”