Published: Monday, 1st October 2018

Medway Council is encouraging residents to seek help and advice on how to give up smoking this month, as part of Stoptober.

The council is supporting Public Health England’s national campaign which runs throughout October. The 28-day challenge supports people to stop smoking for good.

Support and advice available all year round

The council’s A Better Medway service works with smokers throughout the year to help them stub out the habit. They work in numerous locations across Medway, offering free support and advice to smokers wanting to quit. There are a number of stop smoking clinics available in Medway, including the Smokefree Advice Centre in Chatham town centre. Support is also available in GP practices, pharmacies, workplaces and within the military.

Smoking rates in Medway have fallen by more than six per cent since 2012. Nationally, the rates have fallen by 3.8 per cent. In Medway, less than one in five people smoke. But 66 per cent of people aged 40 to 74 are smokers, higher than the national average of 40 per cent. Smokers are four times more likely to quit if they seek support from a trained adviser. Last year 3,000 people used Medway Council’s seven week Stop Smoking programme and 50 per cent quit for good, in line with the national average.

'Specially trained staff work with women during pregnancy'

Cllr David Brake, Portfolio Holder in charge of Public Health, said: “Medway’s stop smoking service helps residents quit the habit and specially trained staff also work with women during pregnancy. We continue to promote healthy living all year round but I’d like to encourage smokers to join the thousands of people across the country who are getting help to stub out the habit as part of Stoptober.”

As well as helping individuals, the council’s public health team also supports workplaces. Last year they helped Medway Foundation Trust to become a smoke free organisation by offering onsite information and support to patients and staff. The A Better Medway service also works with midwives at the hospital offering mums and dads-to-be free and confidential smoking support as part of their antenatal care.

'Take the first steps to quit smoking'

Maria Watson, Specialist Midwife and Pregnancy Adviser at Medway Maritime Hospital, said: “We know that Medway mums and dads want to give their children the best start in life. There is so much evidence out there that demonstrates how harmful smoking can be on a baby’s development during pregnancy and in the home after they’re born, not to mention the mother’s health, so this free and accessible clinic allows parents, in confidence, to take the first steps to quit smoking.”

The service provides support for parents-to-be, as well as offering vouchers for free nicotine patches to help them quit.

If you would like to book a one-to-one session with the council’s stop smoking team, please call 01634 334800 or email Alternatively, text ‘QUIT’ to 81025.

For advice on how to quit smoking visit and click on smokefree.

Chris gave up smoking 12 years ago

Chris Ford, from Wigmore, gave up smoking 12 years ago thanks to Medway Council’s Stop Smoking Service. The 49-year-old now works at the council, running its stop smoking community projects.

He said: “Heart attacks, strokes, lung disease and Type 2 diabetes are just some of the detrimental effects to health which are associated with smoking in adults. Medway Council’s seven week stop smoking programme gave me support and advice to overcome my addiction to cigarettes. We’re proud to run the service at so many locations across Medway including our Smokefree Advice Centre in Chatham High Street.”

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