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Stoptober challenge for Cumbria's smokers

Homepage » News » Stoptober challenge for Cumbria's smokers

Stoptober challenge for Cumbria's smokers

Posted on Tuesday 11th September 2012

Health experts in Cumbria are urging local smokers to take part in the first ever mass quit attempt launched by the Department of Health - Stoptober.

The new campaign, which runs throughout October, offers smokers a free preparation pack, 28-day Quit Calendar and Health & Wealth wheel. Smokers will also receive support and encouragement through a daily messaging service, inspiration from celebrity mentors, and expert advice via a Stoptober app, motivational text message and a Facebook page.

Cumbria has an estimated 87,900 smokers costing the area approximately £137.2m every year.

One Cumbrian woman who has given up her 25-a-day cigarette habit is Suzan Graveson from Kendal.

Suzan said: “I have now been smoke free for over a year. I smoked about 25 cigarettes a day for 25 years, and it was getting worse. I was starting to have four instead of two cigarettes in the morning - it was getting a real hold on me.

“I decided to quit because of my health. I knew it was starting to become a real problem - my colds used to last for weeks at a time, and I thought to myself ‘I can’t keep going on like this’.

“I never thought I would be strong enough to do quit completely. I tried cutting down for seven months, until eventually I went on the patches and stopped having any cigarettes at all. The Stop Smoking Service gave me great support throughout.

“When you are first quitting you don’t know if you’ll get through the first day. The way I managed to do it was by completely changing my whole lifestyle. I now go walking, and organise and plan my life so it is always full. It took a while before I trusted myself to stay at home by myself and not smoke, because I was worried I would slip into old habits.

“My advice to people would definitely be to change your lifestyle and it will make quitting much easier. It is the best thing I have ever done - I feel so proud of myself. I NEVER thought I would be able to do it - I loved smoking, and being around people who smoked. But because of giving up smoking, and changing my life, I have had a fabulous year and done lots of things I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t quit.

“It really is the best thing you can do - the whole world opens up to you. Before smoking was a friend - I would sit and home watching TV smoking. But now I am around people a lot more and have a much better social life. Little things have improved my quality of life - for example at lunchtime I would go out to smoke, but now I stay inside and I have got to know lots of new people.

“It is still hard at times - you need to learn to control your mind as it tells you that you want a cigarette. But if you don’t let it upset you and keep going those thoughts do fade.

“I have used the money I have saved to go on trips out, and as a non-smoker I enjoy my life much more.”

Prof John Ashton, Director of Public Health for Cumbria said “We want to help as many people as possible in Cumbria to become smokefree. There is a wide arrange of support available. For example our local stop smoking services are doing a great job, and last year in Cumbria 3,289 people successfully quit with their help. With the extra support Stoptober provides, this is a great opportunity for smokers to notice the benefits and hopefully become ex-smokers for good.”

As well as the financial benefits of stopping smoking, those undertaking the 28 day programme will experience physical improvements including a better sense of smell and taste and more energy. Longer term, those who stop smoking reduce their risk of heart disease and lung cancer as well as protecting others from their second-hand smoke.

Andrea Crossfield, Director of Tobacco Free Futures, the North West regional body for tobacco control said: “Smoking is still Cumbria’s biggest killer, claiming the lives of around 961 per year. These are people’s wives, brothers, fathers and daughters. We know quitting smoking can be tough. Stoptober is about everyone coming together to support smokers to kick a habit that ultimately kills half of all its long term users. If you’ve been thinking about quitting, now is the time to do it.”

Stoptober 2012 starts on Monday 1 October and runs for 28 days. For more information, to sign up and register for your quit kit visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk/Stoptober or call 01900 324 222 to be put through to your local stop smoking service.

Posted on Tuesday 11th September 2012


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