A better Medway
A picture of Hannah Ostheimer, a Chatham resident who quit smoking - smiling on her chair wearing a blue top and a bookshelf behind her
Hannah Ostheimer
Published: Wednesday, 28th September 2022

Smokers across Medway are encouraged to access support to stop smoking this Stoptober.

We are once again supporting the Stoptober campaign, led by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. The campaign aims to encourage residents to quit the habit during the month of October and help them give up completely.

Stoptober research has found that smokers who reach 28 days without a cigarette are five times more likely to quit for good.

Since 2017, the Medway Stop Smoking Service has helped more than 5,600 residents quit smoking.

Chatham resident quits for good

Hannah Ostheimer quit smoking earlier this year, after smoking 20 cigarettes a day, by seeking help from the Medway Stop Smoking Service. The Chatham resident lit her first cigarette at the age of 16 and until March this year had made several unsuccessful attempts to stop smoking. Each time Hannah would find herself turning to cigarettes to help manage pain she was experiencing from two knee replacements.

Hannah, like many people who smoke, was experiencing breathing difficulty because of her COPD (a lung condition) which led her to the decision to quit smoking for good.

Hannah, 82, said: “I can’t take strong painkillers so, when I had an operation and my knees were giving me hell, that’s when I reached for a cigarette.”

Hannah was paired with a personal stop smoking advisor, who suggested she try nicotine patches.

Hannah said: “She was very understanding and showed me great kindness while I was in hospital, posting me packets of the patches. She saw me each week, so I did not have to see other people. I’d never tried patches and although I was smoking 20 cigarettes a day, I just didn’t want a cigarette. I put the patches on and that was it.”

Available support

Medway is home to fantastic stop smoking support, including:

·      Medway Stop Smoking Service – led by Medway Council’s A Better Medway team, this free service offers advice and stop smoking medication throughout the year to residents who want to quit. A plan is developed for those wanting to quit and support is given to help them stick to it.

·      Smokefree Advice Centres – Residents are offered a six week long advice service via weekly telephone calls, or face to face support, at the council’s Smokefree Advice Centre in Chatham, The Archive Centre in Strood or Balmoral Healthy Living Centre in Gillingham.

·      Text to quit messaging service residents can get support, tips and even vouchers for prescriptions through the council’s free text to quit service.

·      Online support group for expectant mothers – Blooming Bumps is a friendly and relaxed group to support women through their pregnancy and offers tailored advice to help mums and babies get off to the best start.

A range of free services all year round

Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, said: “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the UK. It is never too late to quit and I would strongly advise residents who are wanting to, or have ever considered, quitting the habit to access one of our many stop smoking services across Medway. We offer a range of free services all year round and Stoptober is a great way to get people with the same goal to come together for support. We understand that it is incredibly difficult, but quitting smoking is one of the best things that you can do for your health. I would encourage residents to visit medway.gov.uk/stopsmoking to find specialist services near them.”

Find out more about A Better Medway’s stop smoking services.

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