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Building a smokefree generation in York

Published Thursday, 9 May 2024

City of York Council is helping to create a smokefree generation in York.

The council has been allocated £195,000 government funding to help expand its existing offer to residents and provide even more support to help people quit for good over the next 5 years - as new figures from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) released today show that smoking is costing York £109 million a year.

The service is being delivered by the Health Trainer team, which has a fantastic track record on helping people stop smoking with a 74% success rate of people not smoking four weeks after their ‘quit date’, which is the fourth highest in the country according to recent figures.

The Health Trainers help residents by providing free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or e-cigarettes. The additional funding means the service can expand this offer from 4 weeks to 10 weeks.

The team will also be helping areas where smoking rates remain consistently higher than others in York.

Cllr Jo Coles, Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Social Care, said:

Our Health Trainers already do an amazing job to support people across York to make positive changes such as stopping smoking. It’s really welcome news that this additional funding will enable them to help more residents and for longer.

“The city’s free health trainer service provides support face to face and with the cost of nicotine replacement and anyone who wants to quit smoking, or help with other issues such as weight loss or increasing their levels of physical activity should contact them.”

Peter Roderick, Director of Public Health, at City of York Council said:

Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK. Every year around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking, with many more living with debilitating smoking-related illnesses. As consumer products, cigarettes kill 1 in every 2 users.

“As soon as 48 hours after quitting smoking, your sense of taste and smell is already improving. Within 2 weeks, blood pumps better through your heart. After 3 months coughing, wheezing or breathing problems will improve as your lung function increases by up to 10 per cent.1

“Cigarette use in young people causes short of breath and reduced physical stamina in the short term, and in the long term reduces lung growth and leads to early cardiovascular damage."2

This all comes as the Tobacco and Vapes Bill was recently introduced, where children turning 15 this year or younger will never legally be able to be sold tobacco. This will ensure that future generations are protected from the harmful impacts of smoking and save thousands of lives as well as billions of pounds for the NHS.

New figures from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) released today show that smoking is costing York £109 million a year. Most of this cost is the impact on local productivity £66.1 million, as smoking undermines the health of people during working age with some dying before they reach retirement.

Other costs include:

  • healthcare costs - £4.65 million
  • social care costs (including the cost of unmet care needs and informal carers) - £37.7 million
  • smoking related fires - £895,000

Costs to other areas and local constituencies can also be explored using the ASH Ready Reckoner tool.

These costs far outweigh what local smokers are contributing in tax revenue, estimated to be £18.3 million from City of York Council per year.

For more information get in touch with the Health Trainers telephone: 01904 553377 or email: Alternatively, contact the Health Trainer team online.

A report will be taken to an Executive meeting today (Thursday 9 May) to provide an overview of how the council intends to utilise new resource. Read the report on building a smokefree generation in York: approving use of the Local Stop Smoking Services and Support Grant.


1Source: Better Health/NHS Quit smoking - Better Heath - NHS (
2 Source American Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Smoking and Youth.pdf