Medway Council is encouraging smokers to access support and advice on how to stub out smoking this Stoptober.
The council is supporting the national campaign led by Public Health England which encourages people to give up smoking during October.
Evidence so far suggests people who smoke may be at increased risk of contracting more severe symptoms if they get coronavirus (COVID-19).
As well as reducing the risk of coronavirus complications, quitting smoking is the single best thing someone can do for their health. Smoking is the largest cause of preventable deaths in England and accounts for nearly 80,000 deaths every year.
Smoking rates in Medway have dropped by almost half (44 per cent) in the last eight years, according to Public Health England.
The number of people smoking in Medway has reduced from 25.5 per cent in 2012 to 14.1 per cent in 2019. This is a reduction of 11.4 percentage points compared to the England rate which has seen a reduction by 5.4 percentage points.
It is estimated that approximately 22,700 Medway residents have stopped smoking since 2012.
Medway Council’s A Better Medway team provides free advice and stop smoking medication throughout the year to residents who want to quit. Advisers work with residents to develop a quit plan and then support them to stick to it. During the coronavirus pandemic face to face support is being delivered over the telephone, with residents offered:
- weekly telephone support over 6 weeks to help them stay smoke free and on track
- a free quit smoking app, My Quit Route, with motivational tools and evidence-based behaviour change techniques
- a text to quit messaging service
- appointments via video link
- stop smoking medication delivered to residents’ doorsteps
- a weekly online group for expectant mothers, Blooming Bumps. This friendly and relaxed group supports women through their pregnancy and offers tailored advice to help mums and babies get off to the best start.
To find out more about A Better Medway’s stop smoking telephone and digital services, plus the Blooming Bumps group visit A Better Medway's quit smoking service.
There has never been a more important time to quit.
Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, said:
“One million people have quit smoking for their health and family over lockdown. By quitting smoking they are reducing their risk of developing cancer, heart disease and stroke as well as reducing the risk of severe complications from COVID-19. I would urge residents to telephone our Stop Smoking Service and find out more about the free support we can give them this Stoptober. Smokers are three times more likely to quit with help, and we can offer support to fit in with residents’ busy lives, whether that be downloading a free app, receiving our text message service or weekly telephone support. The team will also deliver stop smoking medication to residents’ doors to help them succeed in their quit attempt.”