Smoking could be BANNED in council houses in Leeds if new government proposals are put into action.
Anti-smoking charity Ash has reported on proposals put forward in a new report which claims that people living in council houses are twice as likely to smoke.
The report, co-written by the APPG government committees on smoking and healthy homes, has called for 'action closer to where people live' to combat smoking.
Council house tenants will be told not to smoke indoors and could even be given vaping kits under new plans.
The report says: "High levels of smoking in poorer communities reduces the likelihood that smokers living in those communities will successfully quit, increases the likelihood that children will be exposed to smoke in the home and that they will take up smoking themselves.
"As a result, smoking-related illness is much more common among both adults and children in these communities."
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Lee Sugden, Chief Executive of Salix Homes and Co-Chair of the report, said: “People living in social housing are twice as likely to smoke as anyone else, so as a social landlord, we have an important role to play in supporting our tenants to lead a healthier lifestyle, whether that be initiatives like providing vaping starter kits, or signposting them to the right support services.
“This is not about a ban on smoking in homes; this is about raising awareness of the significant health inequalities of those living in some communities and recognising how we as landlords can help and support people to quit the habit.”
Salix Homes has also been involved in a pilot project with public health in Salford. The pilot has seen over a thousand tenants provided with access to free e-cigarette starter kits and additional support to help them quit.
At the end of the project, 63% had quit smoking and the stop smoking services had seen four times as many people accessing support and five times as many people successfully quit, says charity ASH.
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Ruth Tennent, Co-Chair of the report, said: “Despite falls in smoking prevalence, smoking is the leading cause of premature death. Continued progress, particularly in our most deprived communities, depends on finding new partnerships and innovative policies. This report is a fresh way to look at old challenges and I look forward to working with my colleagues in housing to make it a local reality.”
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: “This report does not call for a blanket ban on smoking in the home. It is focused on increasing the support to smokers where they live and raising awareness around the role many more professionals could play in tackling entrenched and high rates of smoking in some of our poorest communities.”
Leeds Council has been contacted for a comment on the proposals.