On 20th November ASH published a ground-breaking report entitled ‘Smoking in the home: New solutions for a Smokefree Generation’.
Endorsed by 37 national and local organisations including the NCSCT, this report was launched at the House of Commons, through the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Health and Housing.
The report considers the impact of smoking in the home and what policy measures should be taken across all housing tenures to reduce smoking prevalence, with the aim of protecting children and adults and supporting healthy communities.
The report calls for collaboration between partners including housing, public health, environmental health, trading standards and the fire service to address the harms from smoking and intervene in communities with the highest rates of smoking.
It does not involve banning smoking from social housing, but rather focuses on creative strategies for engaging with tenants, to reduce smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, especially for children who will otherwise potentially be locked into a cycle of disadvantage, both suffering the effects of smoke exposure and becoming smokers themselves.
A mother at the launch talked movingly of the effect of smoke-drift in her flat, and it how it troubles her and her six-year-old child.
1. Local and national leadership to secure smokefree homes
2. Media campaigns and local health promotion to include smokefree homes messaging
3. Support smokefree housing through smoking cessation
4. Maximise the delivery of brief advice across sectors
5. Utilise tobacco harm reduction methods to support smokefree homes
6. Promote the financials gains from stopping smoking
7. Specific action for vulnerable groups of tenants
8. Standardised approach to fire safety to reduce smoking in the home
9. Improve compliance and enforcement of existing legislation and support neighbours exposed to smoke drift
10. Social and private landlords review approaches to smoking within tenancies
11. Local authorities and landlords should include measures to reduce smoking as part of new housing developments
12. Employers should act to protect workers in the home
13. Landlords, local government and the police should collaborate to tackle the sale of illicit tobacco in domestic settings.
You can read the full report here.
One of the key challenges will be to convey to staff in housing departments, landlords, social care staff and others on the frontline how to understand the role that Very Brief Advice on Smoking (VBA) can play.
The NCSCT module on very brief advice on secondhand smoke is an ideal resource for colleagues in these sectors. Please use this link to access the training and see our support for health professionals page for more information and training.