The chairman of the group overseeing NHS doctors locally has joined a new initiative to tackle the harm caused by smoking.
Ian Mack, of NHS West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, joined Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, in the House of Commons on Monday.
The NHS Statement, which is endorsed by NHS England, the Public Health Minister, Public Health England and the BMA amongst other leading health organisations, is a set of commitments made by local NHS organisations to tackle the harm caused by smoking.
Dr Mack signed the Statement on behalf of West Norfolk CCG which became one of the first local NHS organisations in the country to do so.
Dr Mack said: “The relationship between tobacco consumption and health inequalities is not widely understood but it is by far the most important single factor in the difference in life expectancies between social classes.
“Tackling tobacco provides one of the great opportunities to transform public health, and the NHS has a key role to play. I am delighted to have signed the Statement of Support helping to lead the way in preventing the harm caused by smoking.”
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive, NHS England said: “Smoking is coming down - but it’s still our country’s number one killer. And it’s the single biggest medical reason why poorer people die sooner.
“Our job in the NHS is to help support the majority of smokers who want to quit, and to help push for policies that prevent people getting hooked in the first place.
“That’s why the NHS Statement is a great initiative - and why I encourage all NHS organisations to consider joining the 25 who are already leading the way.”