Scrutiny review to tackle the burning issue of smoking

Hackney Council’s Health in Hackney Scrutiny Commission has started its review to examine what more can be done on a local level to reduce smoking across the borough.

As part of the review, the commission will look at the possibility of establishing a local partnership-working group for tobacco control, which would include Hackney Council, NHS City and Hackney, Hackney Police and other key partners. Evidence from other London boroughs suggests that this type of model is a successful way to reduce smoking in a local area and improve residents’ health.

The commission will look at how people are informed about the dangers of smoking; how the Council and its partners create smoking plans – especially for communities that don’t engage with public service and whether employers – particularly in the public sector – are doing enough to promote smoking cessation and prevention.

Councillor Luke Akehurst, Chair of the Health in Hackney Scrutiny Commission, said: “Unfortunately, people living in deprived areas are more likely to take up smoking and at a younger age. They are also more likely to smoke heavily and are less likely to quit smoking. All these factors combined are thought to increase the burden of smoking related disease on the health service locally.

“We are investigating whether a more joined up approach can reduce smoking across Hackney and whether enough is being done by employers to promote smoking cessation and prevention. At the end of our review, we will hopefully make recommendations that will reduce the prevalence of smoking in Hackney and improve residents health and overall quality of life."

During the course of the review, the commission will also hear from leading experts in the field of tobacco control, including the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, based in Queen Mary University of London.

The Health in Hackney Scrutiny Commission is very keen to hear residents and key stakeholders’ views about this review. They should contact 020 8356 3441 or e-mail: before Friday, 26 November.

The Commission is also encouraging local residents to attend the next meeting of the Health and Hackney Scrutiny Commission on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 from 7.00pm in Hackney Town Hall.

A full report with recommendations for tobacco control in Hackney is due to be published in January 2011.