A smoking cessation initiative set up by former nurse Ailsa Rutter won top prize at the chief medical officer for England’s first Public Health Awards in London.
FRESH Smoke Free North East, which won the gold prize at the awards, was the first dedicated regional office and programme for tobacco control in the UK when it was set up five years ago.
As a result, the region saw a reduction in smokers between 2005 and 2007, from 29% to around 22% – a drop of around 135,000 people.
Sir Liam Donaldson, chief medical officer for England, said there had been 147 entries to the awards in total.
The silver prize went to Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), which has waged a successful public health campaign to make the UK food industry reduce the amount of salt it adds to food, and the bronze award to Sustrans, the UK’s leading sustainable transport charity.
‘The number and quality of the submissions showed me the breadth and depth of the work taking place around the country. It is clear to me that public health practice in England today is flourishing. Public health is often an under-recognised part of our healthcare systems,’ said Sir Liam.
‘I hope that these awards will give an opportunity to shine a light on the individuals and teams who work so hard to improve the health of the nation,’ he added.