Press Article: One in four North East smokers plan to quit on No Smoking Day 3.3.2010
One in four North East smokers plan to quit on No Smoking Day 3.3.2010
ONE in four Northern smokers is hoping to pack in the cigarettes for this year’s No Smoking Day, according to a new survey.
With just a week to go before the UK’s red letter day celebrating quitting, the YouGov research set out to find out what drives smokers to stop and how many attempts they had before quitting successfully.
That would mean around 114,000 of the North East’s 440,000 smokers cutting down or quitting.
This year’s message – “breaking free of chains”- is aimed at highlighting how 70% of smokers would like to quit and increasingly feel trapped by smoking.
The research found:
• 26% of smokers in the North say they are considering quitting for No Smoking Day
• Nearly one in three smokers (32%) who have quit successfully did so first time – with one in five (21%) quitting second time round. Only 5% had to try nine times or more
• Health is the main reason for attempting to quit (46%) followed by money (21%) and family reasons (17%).
• 8% of quitters used an NHS Stop Smoking Service, 7% prescriptions from their GP, 22% using a product like NRT but the bulk of smokers (56%) did it through willpower alone, despite so much support being available.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “More and more people in the North East are quitting smoking, and this is fantastic news for the health of our region, but we still need to do more to help those that are still smoking.
“The addiction kills one in two smokers, and remains our biggest killer, taking the lives of 5,500 people in the North East every year. If you want to quit, just give it a go.
“Quitting smoking may not be the easiest thing, but it doesn’t have to be a mountain either. The research shows that smokers have incredible willpower to succeed, but there’s a fantastic amount of support from NHS Stop Smoking Services and using their support you are still four times more likely to quit for good. ”
There are over 1,000 places in the region where smokers can get expert support and medication to deal with cravings, from GP surgeries to pharmacies, schools and community centres.
The North East has seen the biggest drop in smoking in England, from 29% of people smoking in 2005 to 21% of people in 2008.
Local NHS Stop Smoking Services offer one-to-one or group sessions with trained stop smoking advisers, with expert advice about managing your cravings, dealing with stress, possible weight gain and the medicines available to help you.
Here are 10 tips for smokers who have started smoking again but would like to give it another go:
1. Your best chance of quitting is through the NHS Stop Smoking Services – Northumberland NHS Stop Smoking Service on 01670 813135 or Newcastle and North Tyneside NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0300 123 9290. Alternatively phone the national Smoking Helpline 0800 012 1612 or text “HEALTH” and your postcode to 88088.
2. Work out when you’re tempted to smoke. Is it when you’re having a drink, when you’re feeling stressed or with work colleagues? Change your routines and plan ahead to avoid these situations.
3. Find out how addicted you are - try the online Addiction Test at http://smokefree.nhs.uk/quit-tools/addiction-test/ Use one of the NHS approved aids to tackle the addiction – Nicotine Replacement Therapy, Varenicline or Bupropion with support to help you quit.
4. Make a list of reasons why you want to stop smoking to help you through any difficult moments. For example, if you have children, think about the effect it has on them. Almost all (96%) children with a smoking parent wish that they would quit
5. Take it one day at a time and use techniques such as going for a walk or doing something else with your hands when you get the cravings. Plan some exercise to put an extra stride in your step.
6. Ask your loved ones and friends to support you. Quit attempts are more successful if you’re not doing it alone. Try to find yourself a quitting partner such as your partner, work colleagues or a friend. Set a date to quit together and you will be able to give each other support.
7. Think about setting up a quitting club in your workplace where colleagues can support each other.
8. Reward yourself - think of how much cash you’re saving! For example, a couple smoking 20-a-day are in line to save more than £4,000 a year – the cost of a luxury holiday. Work out how long it will take you to save for your dream purchase by using the calculator http://smokefree.nhs.uk/quit-tools/cost-calculator/
9. Throw out your ashtrays, matches and lighters and anything else you needed to smoke. Put potpourri where your ashtrays used to be – your home will smell fresher in no time at all.
10. Don’t think ‘one cigarette won’t hurt’. You will be undoing all your great work and could make the cravings worse.