News item

Niche tobacco project nominated for Local Government Chronicle Awards 2014

A health partnership project in Leeds has been recognised for its innovative work with local communities and has been shortlisted in the Local Government Chronicle Awards 2014.

The project, a partnership between Leeds City Council, NHS Leeds Community Health Care and West Yorkshire Trading Standards has worked with more than 3000 residents, raising awareness about the risks of using niche tobacco and providing cessation services for users across Leeds. 

Niche tobacco products have been around for hundreds of years. The use of products such as Paan, Ghutka, Nasswar, Beedi Cigarettes and Shisha pipes are popular all over the world.  Over time these products have gained popularity in the UK, however a large number of users are unaware that these products contain tobacco and are addictive. 

The use of the shisha pipe is a trend that has become increasingly popular over the last few years, surpassing social activities such as cinema going due to its affordability.  There has been an increase in the number of shisha cafes that have opened up around Leeds enabling this activity to become more accessible, resulting in more young people visiting these establishments more frequently.  A common misconception about the shisha pipe is that it is a harmless alternative to smoking however, one full shisha session can produce the same amount of smoke as up to 200 cigarettes.  

Almost 500 professionals from partners have been trained who are now able to advise, guide and support service users around niche tobacco whilst allowing for the cascading element of the project. Registration forms have been edited by health professionals to now record niche tobacco usage and not just cigarettes usage which will allow for better monitoring of the number of users enabling targeted work to take place in the future. 

The Public Health category is intended to recognise the contribution of councils and partners which are making the most of their new powers. The transfer of responsibility for public health to local government represents a major opportunity for councils and their partners to protect and improve the health of their local communities. Key to delivering the new responsibilities is the development of evidence-based solutions to reduce inequalities and improve health and wellbeing. Marshalling the full scope of a council's remit in support of these objectives is crucial. 

A record breaking 640 entries were submitted for this year’s awards, which demonstrates local government’s enthusiasm to share innovation and reward their teams and individuals who make change happen. There are over 80 organisations in the final, which means that there is fierce competition for the coveted award. 

With budgets at the forefront of priorities, it is even more important this year to highlight the organisations who demonstrate best practice and to shine a spotlight on their achievements. 

Councillor Bill Urry of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee said, “I would like to congratulate the niche tobacco teams on this fantastic achievement. At a time of massive change in the way services are delivered the niche tobacco teams have found common ground in order to benefit the communities we serve and this nomination is testament of their hard work”. 

If you would like more information or would like us to deliver training sessions or workshops regarding Niche Tobacco please contact Babul Hussain at Trading Standards on 0113 393 9816 or bhussain@wyjs.org.uk. 

Anyone wanting information on support to stop tobacco use should contact Leeds NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0800 169 4219. 

DATE: 6 February 2014