Smokers in Northumberland urged to give quitting a go on No Smoking Day 2018

With just days to go until No Smoking Day on Wednesday 14 March, thousands of smokers in Northumberland are being urged to give quitting a go – and try to quit at least once a year until they stop for good. 

The call comes as new figures suggest smokers in the North East are making more successful quit attempts than elsewhere in the country.

The figures come from the Smoking Toolkit Study from University College London, which shows that in the past 10 years in the North East, around 18.3% of people who tried to quit smoking were still not smoking, compared with 15.7% of people nationally. The figures for 2017 were 19.7% versus 17.7%.

Fresh is also encouraging Northumberland smokers who’ve struggled to quit so far to consider switching completely to an e-cigarette – significantly less harmful than smoking and now the most popular way to quit smoking in the UK. Whether or not smokers use an e-cigarette they are strongly advised to get support from their local Stop Smoking Service.

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “We are urging smokers to never give up on quitting. It is great to see the figures showing smokers in the North East have a better chance at quitting – and we have had the biggest fall in smoking since 2005, but we’re also suggesting some of the most effective ways to stop.

“Some people do manage to quit first time – but for most it takes many attempts. Don’t get disheartened if you didn’t quit first time, and don’t tell yourself you can’t do it. You can come back more determined and better prepared next time.”

Councillor Veronica Jones, Portfolio Holder for Adult Wellbeing and Health, Northumberland County Council said: “There are lots of options available to help you quit smoking in Northumberland and our Stop Smoking services are ready and waiting to assist you. It’s never too late and it’s always worth another go even if you've tried before. 

“If you are considering switching to e-cigarettes or using a vaping product to help you come off tobacco, then our friendly and experienced advisors are here to help. Contact the Northumberland Stop Smoking Service on 01670 813135 or ask at your local pharmacy or GP practice.”

Maggie Bratton, 62 from Northumberland, quit smoking after being diagnosed with mouth cancer. 

She said: “Before the cancer I was an adamant smoker – I always had been. I never bothered trying to quit because I just thought I would make a fool of myself and fail but it changes when you get that scared.

“I remember being at the hospital the night before the surgery and I was still smoking at that stage. I went outside for a cigarette and I thought ‘what am I doing?’

“I went back in and put my clothes on and said to the nurse ‘I’m going to go home’ and she asked why and I said ‘because I can’t quit’. Thankfully, she told me to sleep on it and to think of my kids and I haven’t smoked since. I can honestly say I have never craved a cigarette since.”

The Smoking Toolkit study is co-ordinated by Prof Robert West, Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies, University College London.

Prof West said: “Every smoker should have a go at stopping smoking at least once a year and No Smoking Day is a great opportunity to do this. Our research tells us that the best chance of success is by doing it all in one go rather than by trying to cut down gradually, and to use the Local Stop Smoking Service.

“The North East has seen a higher quit success rate. If we can encourage more smokers in the North East to have a go at stopping we could see huge reductions in smoking rates.”

Some of the ways to quit Fresh is recommending include:

Stop Smoking Services – with expert specialist help smokers are up to four times more likely to quit. 

Switching to e-cigarettes.  There is growing evidence that e-cigarettes can help people stop smoking and using an e-cigarette can help you manage your nicotine cravings . E-cigs are estimated to be 95% less harmful than smoking. Refillable “tank” system e-cigarettes are regarded as more effective and end up being cheaper than the discardable ones that look like cigarettes. Specialist e-cigarette retailers can provide advice.

Using a quitting cessation aid like nicotine patches or a stop smoking medicine such as Champix. Cigarettes contain nicotine which your body becomes dependent on. Stop smoking medicines can help you manage withdrawal symptoms. Most health problems are caused by other components in tobacco smoke, not by the nicotine.
  • Ask your GP or pharmacist.
  • Get support from family and friends – their support can go a long way. If your partner smokes, why not quit together?
  • There are a range of tools online such as the Smokefree App, email and text support from NHS Smokefree, or call the National Smokefree Helpline on 0300 123 1044.
For support and advice on quitting smoking in Northumberland call the local stop smoking service: 01670 813135 or visit:  https://www.northumbria.nhs.uk/our-services/healthy-living/stop-smoking
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