Plan for Oxfordshire to be first 'smoke-free' county by 2025

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image captionOxfordshire County Council said the new strategy would be a "step change" in how smoking is treated

Oxfordshire could become England's first "smoke-free" county by 2025 under a plan unveiled by its county council.

It wants to cut the proportion of people smoking to below 5% - half of the total currently.

When smoking rates fall below 5%, an area is considered to be "smoke free" because the habit would be deemed unusual.

A consultation on an "ambitious" strategy will be launched by the council in March.

Ansaf Azhar, the council's director of public health, said the Oxfordshire Tobacco Control Strategy would be a "step change" in how smoking was treated in the county.

Mr Azhar said the strategy would include introducing more smoke-free environments, supporting smokers to quit, regulating tobacco products and continuing existing prevention work, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

The council said smoking remains the "single greatest cause of premature death" in Oxfordshire.

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