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Helping smokers to quit or switch

Helping smokers to quit or switch

Stopping smoking is the single best thing anyone can do improve their health. Quitting significantly reduces the risk of developing over 16 types of cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, and protects loved ones from breathing in poisonous secondhand smoke.

 

People smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar and thousands of other toxic chemicals contained in tobacco smoke. There is no such thing as a safe cigarette and even smoking a few cigarettes a day is damaging to health.

 

If you're a smoker and you'd like information on ways to quit including switching to an electronic cigarette visit: https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree

 

Fresh brings together the local commissioners of Stop Smoking Services in the North East and encourages the most effective evidence based support to be made available to local smokers. These services have helped hundreds and thousands of local smokers to quit for good over the last two decades and have played an important role in efforts to reduce smoking. For individual smokers, the best chance of stopping for good is to have face-to-face specialist support alongside an approved stop smoking aid. We do also know that thousands of smokers stop unaided each year or quit with the help of an electronic cigarette, and it's important to send a consistent positive message to all smokers to try to stop at least every year and never give up on quitting. Quitting smoking brings health benefits at any age.

 

We believe there is a much greater role that the NHS can play to support smokers to stop recognising that smoking is a chronic relapsing long term condition. We are supporting all the Acute Trusts and CCGs in the North East to upscale efforts and fully implement NICE guidance to support smokers to stop and to ensure that we have a truly Smokefree NHS, recognising this will save lives and money. For anyone involved in Smokefree NHS work in the North East you can join our Treating Tobacco Dependency group on the Knowedge Hub.

 

The region has a North East Smokefree NHS/Treating Tobacco Dependency Taskforce in place and this is driving progress to support the NHS to achieve the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership target of April 2019 for all the NHS to be smokefree.  There are some excellent examples of work within the North East and beyond on the role that the NHS can play.

 

The two Mental Health Trusts in the North East made a commitment back in 2014 to upscale efforts to address smoking and have shown leadership in their approaches. It is an alarming fact that whilst smoking rates have fallen significantly over the last 20 years, they have remained stubbornly high among those with poor mental health and around 1 in 3 cigarettes are currently smoked by someone with a mental health condition. You can read more about the work of the two Mental Health Trusts here.

 

There are also excellent resources on smoking and mental health through the national Smoking and Mental Health Partnership of which Fresh is a member: http://smokefreeaction.org.uk/smokefree-nhs/smoking-and-mental-health/

 

A particularly challenging area is maternal smoking and we recognise the importance of supporting pregnant smokers and their partners to stop as soon as possible. In recent years we have led on some ground breaking work to systematically address this issue which has resulted in a more rapid decline in maternal smoking rates, but with around 16% of North East mothers still smoking when they have their baby, we still have a long way to go.  An evaluation of this work found that pregnant women are almost twice as likely to quit smoking if they are supported from their first midwife appointment – and then are more likely to have heavier, healthier babies. You can read more about this work here http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2017/02/10/tobaccocontrol-2016-053476

 

There are excellent resources on smoking and pregnancy through the national Pregnancy Challenge Group of which Fresh is a member: http://smokefreeaction.org.uk/smokefree-nhs/smoking-in-pregnancy-challenge-group/

 

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