A DECLARATION to reduce the harm caused by smoking was signed by leaders at Cornwall Council on Monday in a bid to make the county "smoke free".

Smoking is the leading cause of death in Cornwall, with around 1,000 smoke related deaths recorded every year.

Cornwall Council Leader Julian German said: “This is a very important step for us to take as anything that helps us to reinforce the message about the risks associated with smoking is vital in improving the health of residents.”

“We will be building on the services already offered which in the previous year have allowed over 5,000 people to agree a quit date with the Stop Smoking Service, which is a higher rate than any other local authority area in the south west region. This is still not enough though and we want to support even more people to quit.”

The signing of the Local Government Declaration of Tobacco Control will support the council's public health team’s aims to reduce the amount of people who take up smoking, make smoke free places the norm and help those that want to stop smoking.

The declaration is designed to be a clear and visible way for organisations to show their commitment to helping smokers to quit and to providing smokefree environments which support them.

It has been endorsed by the former public health minister Steve Brine MP and the chief executives of NHS England and Public Health England.

More than 100 other local authorities have already signed up to it.

Now that the declaration has been signed, the multi-agency Smokefree Cornwall Tobacco Control Alliance, made up of partners such as NHS Trusts, Public Health, Trading Standards and Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, will be updating their strategy and confirming an action plan that will aim to reduce smoking further in Cornwall.

The signing of the declaration also supports the public health team’s campaign that will be launched in two weeks’ time that aims to encourage people who smoke to think about quitting or switching to vape.

For more information and help on quitting then visit www.healthycornwall.org.uk