July 24 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Free NHS services in Suffolk and Essex designed to help smokers kick the habit have been hailed after new figures found more than 9,000 people in the region have given up.
In Suffolk, some 3,091 people who signed up to NHS Stop Smoking Services managed to quit between April and December last year, compared to the 1,947 who were still classed as smokers, the research by the Health and Social Care Information Centre research found.
In Essex, a total of 5,952 people gave up smoking at the clinics, almost twice as many as the 3,322 who were unsuccessful.
NHS Stop Smoking Services launched in England and Wales in 2000. People attending these services are encouraged to use pharmacological aids to increase their chances of successfully quitting.
Free quit kits and face-to-face support sessions are also made available.
Alan Murray, cabinet member for health and adult care at Suffolk County Council, said the figures provided evidence the services were helping people to give up smoking. “It is really encouraging to see an increase in the number of those successfully quitting smoking in Suffolk,” he added.
“We work with Livewell and East Coast Community Healthcare to offer support to those who wish to quit.”
An Essex County Council spokesman welcomed the latest research but insisted work was still needed to further reduce the prevalence of smoking across the county.
“In Essex, it is estimated that the adult smoking prevalence is 18%; however, in the more deprived areas this can be as high as 39%,” he warned. “Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of ill health, disease and death in this country, and the single most important lifestyle factor affecting health inequalities. Therefore, it is important to continue with the education messages as well as providing Stop Smoking Support Services, which is a key priority for the county council.”
He added: “Essex County Council commissions the Stop Smoking Support Services across Essex and our providers work hard to promote the services that are available in the community as well as through GP practices and pharmacies.”
For more details, or to find your nearest NHS Stop Smoking Services centre, visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree.