New plans to tackle smoking across Cheshire and Merseyside

The Collaborative’s Directors are driving forward a new programme to tackle smoking across Cheshire and Merseyside.

Smoking is the subregion’s single greatest cause of preventable ill health and premature death, killing up to two in three smokers, half in middle age.

On average, across Cheshire and Merseyside, the 2022 national survey figures show that 11.7% of residents smoked, that’s more than 237,000 people, with data showing that in some areas smoking rates were as high as 17.3% in 2022.

The new programme is being delivered to help shape a Cheshire and Merseyside Smokefree Framework – a system partnership approach which will include the NHS and all nine local authorities in the subregion, as well as voluntary, community and social enterprise partners.

The creation of the programme follows the commissioning of a situational analysis in March 2023 by Directors of Public Health (DsPH) to understand the key gaps, opportunities, and evidence base for effective approaches to reducing smoking prevalence across the subregion.

One of the key recommendations from the report was to establish a system-wide three to five year Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan. The ambition is to deliver a Smokefree 2030 across all nine Cheshire and Merseyside localities.

To help co-produce the new strategic framework and implementation, a system-wide Sector-Led Improvement Workshop will be held in the coming weeks with the Local Government Association (LGA) together with key leads from across the subregion to understand locality plans and best practice to inform development of a draft framework and collaborative priorities.

This will shortly be followed by delivery of a Cheshire and Merseyside senior stakeholder workshop to agree a clear vision, key collaborative priorities for the draft framework and delivery plan for the next five years.

Dr Sarah McNulty, Director of Public Health in Knowsley and Lead Director of Public Health for Smokefree Cheshire and Merseyside, said:

“We’re committed to reducing smoking prevalence and delivering fairer futures.

Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable ill health and premature death in Cheshire and Merseyside causing 16 different types of cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease and dementia. Those who stop smoking live longer, healthier lives at any age but we want to go further and deliver a generation free from tobacco harm.”

To support the new programme, a Population Health Policy and Strategy Consultant has been appointed for seven months to provide strategic leadership capacity to help drive forward the work across Cheshire and Merseyside on behalf of DsPH.

Andrea Crossfield MBE has been appointed to the role and brings with her a wealth of expertise. Until recently, Andrea led on tackling inequalities to create fair chances for people to live good lives in Greater Manchester and enjoy better health, including the region’s ambitious Make Smoking History programme. She has extensive experience in local government and at director level in the NHS and VCSE sectors at local, regional and national levels.

Dr McNulty added:

“We welcome Andrea to support the programme and are looking forward to understanding stakeholder perspectives, bringing together partners from all localities and looking at local and system strategies that will help shape the Cheshire and Merseyside developing framework. One of our first steps is to undertake stakeholder mapping and deliver a Sector-Led Improvement Workshop with local leads and key system stakeholders to help shape the framework.”

The creation of the new Smokefree Cheshire and Merseyside programme is timely as the Government has announced plans following consultation to clamp down on underage vaping and create a smokefree generation by making it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009.

DsPH jointly responded directly to the Government’s

For further information on the Smokefree Cheshire and Merseyside programme including details of planned events please contact Jayminee Robson, Project Support Officer, Champs Support Team via