Tobacco control

Using tobacco in any form is very harmful to your health. If you smoke tobacco via cigarettes or shisha you are at increased risk of many health problems such as cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease. Chewing paan/betel nuts can cause oral cancer and have a significant impact on your health.

In Tower Hamlets, 27 per cent of the adult population smoke, compared to the London average of 21 per cent. Some 22 per cent of deaths in Tower Hamlets are due to smoking, compared to 18 per cent in London.

Work we are doing to tackle this issue locally

The Tower Hamlets Tobacco Control Alliance was formed in 2008, led by the NHS and local authority, with an aim to tackle tobacco use across the borough. The alliance has a wide-ranging tobacco control strategy focusing on the three main areas of prevention, cessation and the promotion of smoke-free environments.
Some of the work we are doing locally includes:

  • offering advice and support to help people stop smoking  and using tobacco through a wide network of trained stop smoking advisors
  • providing stop smoking training
  • motivating smokers and increasing awareness of services through targeted campaigns
  • ensuring businesses comply with the legislation of smoke-free environments
  • working with local businesses to offer stop smoking services to their employees
  • preventing the sale of tobacco to young people under the age of 18 with the council’s trading standards service
  • working with young people's services to prevent the uptake of smoking and tobacco use
  • working with local hospitals and health and social care providers to further promote services and health messages
  • working with local agencies such as the London Fire Brigade and police to reduce the harm from tobacco.


Anyone living or working in Tower Hamlets can access the free NHS stop smoking services offering support and advice on a one-to-one or group basis, depending on what suits you best.

These services are provided by your local chemist and GP practices. Also here to help are:

Bangladeshi Stop Tobacco project
Free and confidential advice and support to help you stop smoking or chewing tobacco. Bengali-speaking male and female advisors available Monday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm, on 020 7882 8669 (female) or 020 7882 8660 (male).

Stop smoking specialist service
Specialises in helping those who have high levels of addiction or additional needs and offers intensive support including group sessions, counselling and pharmaceutical support in the community and in hospital. Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 5.30pm, on 0800 169 1943. Evening appointments are also available.

The Tower Hamlets stop smoking service
Provides specialist intensive support for pregnant women. Partners can also be seen together. Women can choose to be seen at the clinic, at a children's centre or in their own homes. Call 020 7882 8230.

Useful external links


NHS Choices: