A better Medway
Published: Tuesday, 15th August 2023

Smokers who want to stub out the habit for good are being encouraged to get in touch with Medway’s Stop Smoking Service.

Since 2018, the service, led by our A Better Medway team, has supported 9,244 residents with their quit attempts.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature death, causing almost 75,000 deaths a year, nationally.

Residents aged 18 and above who contact our stop smoking service for support will now be offered a free re-usable vaping starter kit, with up to 10 liquids at the appropriate strength to treat their addiction.

Vapes are electronic devices where users inhale nicotine in a vapour instead of smoke. Switching to vaping significantly reduces smoker’s exposure to toxins that can cause cancer, lung disease, and diseases of the heart and circulation like heart attacks and strokes.

Vaping combined with behavioural support is nearly twice as effective as medicinal nicotine replacement therapy.

It is never too late to quit. As part of service offering vapes, the free stop smoking service includes one-to-one support in person, on the phone or via video to support the quit attempt.  There is also an online text to quit messaging service with support and tips.

Helping residents live longer, healthier lives

Cllr Teresa Murray, Deputy Leader of Medway Council and Portfolio Holder for Public Health, said: “The health and wellbeing of our residents is of the highest importance and we are committed to working with residents to help them live longer, healthier lives. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the UK and although the healthiest option is to not smoke or vape, experts agree that nicotine vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking. With our team’s expert support vaping can be an effective tool to help smokers stub out the habit for good. We understand that the routines and rituals of smoking can be hard to stop and vaping can help residents gradually let go of these while immediately reducing the health risks of smoking cigarettes. Our Stop Smoking team will help residents use vapes as a smoke-free tool so, by the end of their journey, they will no longer smoke or vape. I would encourage residents who are thinking of quitting smoking to contact the team for help, support and advice.”

We are aware of the rise in vaping amongst young people who have never smoked. We are carrying out targeted work to prevent children and young people taking up vaping. The first phase of this project involves understanding the views and opinions of Medway’s young people with events due to take place in September.

Our enforcement team regularly carry out test purchases to help ensure vapes are not sold to underage young people. If residents have concerns about shops selling vapes to children, they are encouraged to call 01634 334455 or email consumer.protection@medway.gov.uk.

More information about our targeted work with children and young people will be available in due course.

Find out more about Medway’s stop smoking services

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