More help will be offered to smokers who want to quit in Barnsley under a new project
An improved new stop smoking service will be introduced in Barnsley this autumn after senior councillors approved spending of up to £450,000 on a project intended to tackle the town’s high level of tobacco users.
Barnsley’s public health workers have been successful in recent years in bringing down smoking levels among adults and are working to try to ensure the next generation avoid the habit altogether.
But in the meantime work still needs to be done to help smokers who want to quit and an existing contract, currently provided by an NHS trust, comes to an end later this year.
Rather than just renewing that, the council wants to expand the work done to provide increased support to the people who need it most.
The local authority is now looking for a provider to bring that service to the public.
Statistics show the scale of Barnsley’s smoking problem, with more than 18 per cent of adults still smoking – even though that figure is substantially down on the town’s historic record, it is markedly above the national average of around 15 per cent.
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Smoking is more common among poorer residents and figures show almost a third of Barnsley households living in poverty have a smoker present.
If smokers in those households were to quit, 2,140 families would see their lifestyles rise above the poverty line, funded by the cash not going to buy tobacco.
Successful schemes in Barnsley have included making play areas in parks and some of the town centre voluntary ‘smoke free areas’, an idea which is now being expanded to the areas around school gates.
The policy is to make smoking invisible to children, so it no longer appears normal to them to adopt the habit as they grow up.