A DECLARATION that highlights the affects smoking has on a community has been backed by Thurrock Council.

The Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control is endorsed by the country’s leading public health organisations and is a statement of a local authority’s commitment to tackling harm from smoking.

It includes commitments to have a local plan, to support national action on tobacco and to protect local health policy from tobacco industry influence.

Smoking in Thurrock accounts for more early deaths than any other cause.

Councillor Barbara Rice, in charge of health, said: “I understand we’re the 22nd local authority to sign up which again shows Thurrock takes its public health responsibilities very seriously indeed.

“We want to do away with the inequalities in health that we see between different wards in our borough, but more importantly we want Thurrock to be a healthy place for everyone who lives here.

“That’s what we’re working towards, and tackling the evils of tobacco is one of the simplest ways of doing this. Stop smoking and immediately you increase your chances of a longer life.”