Wakefield Council launches Breathe 2025 campaign to inspire a smokefree generation

Date: 12/11/2015
Ref: PR 5104

Wakefield Council is urging people and organisations across the district to sign up and support Breathe 2025, a new campaign to inspire children to grow up smokefree and protected from health harms caused by tobacco.


While the region has the highest adult smoking prevalence in England (20.1% compared to an England average of 18%), only one in eight 15-year-olds smoke and the proportion of young smokers is dropping.  Within the next decade there could be a generation of children that don't smoke.  


Cllr Pat Garbutt, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health at Wakefield Council, is throwing her support behind the campaign.


She said: "The campaign is very important and I am committed to doing everything that I can to spread the message. I want everyone's children and grandchildren, to have the opportunity to enjoy a healthy life, free from the effects of tobacco, which we all know is so harmful to health."


Cllr Garbutt, pictured with grandchildren Emily Garbutt aged four, and James Garbutt aged two, said: "We  want children who have started school this year to be the pioneers of a smokefree generation: today's five year olds can be smokefree at 15 when they are doing their GCSEs and so can all the year groups following them. 


"They can be smokefree when they leave school or college and as adults. Breathe 2025 is about how all of us can inspire and help them to make that happen."


Latest figures, from 2013, estimate there are 65,200 smokers in the Wakefield district, which equates to one in four of the population. This includes between 250 -370 current smokers who are aged 15.


The campaign is being run by a collaboration of partners across Yorkshire and the Humber, including Wakefield Council and Public Health England.


People and organisations are being asked to show their support by going to the campaign website or Facebook page and signing up to one or more simple, practical actions. This could be pledging to watch and share the Breathe 2025 video, or promising to display a Breathe 2025 poster.  There are a range of simple actions to choose from, as individuals or on behalf of an organisation such as a school, GP practice or local business.


Cllr Garbutt added: "Giving children and young people the best start in life is a priority for parents, family members and many other organisations and communities in – and not smoking is a great start so please go to the Breathe 2025 website and show your support."


Andrew Furber, Director of Public Health at Wakefield Council, said: "Evidence suggests that if young people don't start using tobacco by the age of 26 they will almost certainly never start, so we have a great opportunity here to transform the health of our region and we can do it within the next 10 years."


"Currently smoking costs the NHS in Wakefield about £15.6 million every year.  Around one in two smokers die from a smoking-related illness. If we can prevent young people from smoking, that's not just an investment in their health as individuals, it's an investment in a healthier future for everyone."


The Breathe 2025 website is at www.Breathe2025.org.uk