People from across Greater Manchester are being asked to become a part of history in a bid to end smoking in the region within a decade.

Smoking is the biggest cause of early death and ill health in Greater Manchester, with around 4,500 people a year dying of a smoking-related disease. Tackling the addiction is also linked to other reform agendas such as poverty and worklessness reduction, as well as crime reduction through dealing with the illegal tobacco trade.

As part of the survey, people will be asked to give their views about Greater Manchester’s plan to radically cut adult smoking and deliver a tobacco-free generation through a whole range of local actions including extending smokefree places and licensing tobacco retailers.

The survey will also ask people to voice their opinion on whether tobacco companies should pay a ‘polluter levy’ for the devastation that their products cause to individuals, families and communities.

Greater Manchester plans to go further than anywhere in Europe and cut smoking rates by a third. That would mean 115,000 fewer smokers across the region in only three years.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, along with health and care leaders, wants to encourage the biggest ever response to a campaign about tobacco harm.

“There will come a time when people look back and say: why did smoking ever happen?” said Mr Burnham. “I want to bring that date forward and have Greater Manchester at the forefront of the charge.

“Every hour, another of our young people starts to smoke, many developing a childhood addiction that will kill them.  One in two long-term smokers die from a tobacco related illness – 13 people every day in Greater Manchester.

“Tobacco harms our NHS and our economy to the tune of £785 million a year. Greater Manchester is a trailblazer for devolution, taking charge of public sector spending on health and social care. This gives us an historic opportunity to prevent the devastation, disease and disability caused by tobacco to thousands of families.

“We are launching Making Smoking History today with our History Makers – local people committed to supporting this important campaign. We urge everyone to log on and take part.”

Tobacco industry profits worldwide are greater than Coca Cola, McDonalds and Microsoft combined. Profit margins for the tobacco industry on cigarettes in the UK have been estimated at 68%, compared to only 15-20% in most consumer staple industries.

“While the numbers of young people taking up smoking has reduced drastically over the past ten years, we still have too many smoking and starting to smoke,” said Sarah Price, of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.

“We plan to deliver a tobacco-free generation with our communities. Smoking is everyone’s business. The harm from tobacco addiction affects our whole society, from the pain and suffering of individuals and their families to the preventable costs to the economy and public services.”

Have your say at historymakersgm.co.uk.