City leaders in Leeds are urging people and organisations across the city 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 Yorkshire and the Humber 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. Campaigners believe that within the next decade there could be a generation of children that don’t smoke.
Dr Ian Cameron, Leeds City Council Director of Public Health said:
“Leeds currently has an adult smoking rate of 23.1%. That’s a real challenge for us and 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.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of Leeds health and Wellbeing board, said:
“We want the next generation of Leeds children to 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. That is why we want smokefree playgrounds and are working with partners to help people access stop smoking services.”
The campaign is being run by a collaboration of partners across Yorkshire and the Humber, including Leeds City 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.
Colin Hancock, from Middleton gave up smoking, and is keen that his children and grandchildren don’t smoke. He said:
“I’m really glad I’ve been supported to give up smoking – and I hope everyone will go to the Breathe 2025 website and back the campaign. It is great that giving children and young people the best start in life is a priority for Leeds and I hope other parents, family members and as many other organisations and communities from the city as possible join in to pledge their support.”
The Breathe 2025 website is at www.Breathe2025.org.uk