Inspire a smoke-free generation and stop smoking

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Paul Lambert is a tobacco expert in Leeds City Council’s Public Health team. He’s managed to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and tell us about how his New Year resolution is doing…

“I know I struggle with my New Year resolutions every year” says Paul “That’s mainly because they’re things I’m trying not to do which I enjoy! So I have every sympathy with people who are starting 2017 with a plan to knock smoking on the head and are finding it tough to keep going.”

“The resolutions I find easiest to keep are the ones where I’m getting support from family, friends and colleagues, along with the ones where I can see a difference.”

paul-lambert-2015“One of the influences for a lot of people trying to quit is the impact of smoking on children in the household or wider circle of family and friends. People looking for an extra reason to drop the habit often find having children or the way children react can be a big influence. After all, no one wants to have their children or nieces and nephews avoiding them because they smell of smoke and no one wants to be heading to hospital with a life threatening disease caused by tobacco use while the other half and family fret for what is happening.

So I’m glad the new national campaign is reinforcing the messages that we know influence people to not just stop, but stay stopped.

With 45 people a day dying of cardiovascular disease (CVD) caused by smoking and just under one in five Leeds citizens still smoking we know there’s plenty of people who will still benefit from quitting. CVD includes all diseases of the heart and circulation – including heart attacks and strokes and the main cause of death and disability in the country and quitting has been identified as the single best thing a smoker can do to protect their heart. CVD is usually associated with the build-up of fatty deposits clogging up the arteries, known as atherosclerosis,  that can block the flow of blood to vital organs and eventually cause fatal heart attacks and strokes. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease by a quarter (24%) and doubles the risk of heart attack or stroke.

The other change smokers will have seen this year is that all cigarettes sold in the UK will be in standard packs with any attractive branding removed. The packs feature graphic picture and text health warnings, and in Australia, evidence suggests the design even puts smokers off using the packs in public. Standardised packaging expert, Professor Marcus Munafò from the University of Bristol is really enthusiastic about the change in packs. He said: “The introduction of standardised packaging for cigarettes in the UK is a great step forward and will hopefully work as a suitably strong deterrent from smoking. I hope the UK will see similar results to Australia, which has seen a reduction in smoking rates from over 15% to under 13% in the two years since standardised packaging was introduced.”

So with the two biggest motivators for smokers to quit being their health and their families, hopefully the back up from campaigns and standardised packs will help too. The other big help is to use a stop smoking support service. Successful quit rates are significantly higher when you have the right support – so making use of the free support available is a no-brainer. In Leeds there’s plenty of advice and links to other support at the www.oneyouleeds.org.uk website. If you get in touch, you can find out about things like nicotine gum, e-cigarettes and vaping as part of your quitting plan. The same things don’t work for everyone – so ask the experts for their help so you can keep your resolution strong!

Right – I’ve met my resolution to write a blog. Now I need to get my trainers on…

For more information on stopping smoking or to make an appointment with Leeds NHS Stop smoking service please visit: http://www.leedscommunityhealthcare.nhs.uk/our_services_az/stop_smoking_service/

Alternatively you can contact the service using the below details:

About betterlivesleeds

Health, social and age-related care services working together to make Leeds the best city for health and wellbeing
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One Response to Inspire a smoke-free generation and stop smoking

  1. Tim Sanders says:

    If you look after your heart, you’ll be looking after your brain too. We should be saying more about the increased risk of dementia from smoking I think. The Cognitive Function in Ageing Study (CFAS) has found that the number of people with dementia in the UK in 2011 was about the same as the number in 1991, even though the ageing of the population alone would have led to a 33% increase in those twenty years. The researchers attributed the decrease in risk to improvements in population health, especially the reduction in smoking since the 1980s. There were over 200,000 people in the UK who didn’t have dementia in 2011 who would have had it based on 1991 data.

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