Shocking death toll of smoking

MORE than 700 people in the east of England die from a smoking related illness every month, health bosses warned.And with a quarter of the adult population in the region still enjoying a cigarette they urged individuals to kick the habit ahead of the public places ban on July 1.

MORE than 700 people in the east of England die from a smoking related illness every month, health bosses warned.

And with a quarter of the adult population in the region still enjoying a cigarette they urged individuals to kick the habit ahead of the public places ban on July 1.

According to the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) around 8,500 people in its six counties, which include Suffolk and Essex, die from a smoking related illness every year - more than 700 a month.

With the ban on smoking coming into force in less than two months health officials are now predicting an increase in people wanting to quit.

Hilary Andrews, Suffolk Stop Smoking Service co-ordinator, said: “Since January we have seen a rise in the number of people coming to us for help and we expect to see it pick up a little as we get nearer to July.

“What these figures tell us is that quitting does save lives. People don't realise just how many people are affected by it and are actually dying because it is hidden in all different conditions that smoking causes.

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“Our service doesn't preach and, because it is run by the NHS, it is free. We have group sessions, one on one clinics, Saturday morning groups and can also visit the workplace.

“We will deliver a service according to how many people come to us - all you need to do is give us a ring.”

Dr Paul Cosford, regional director of public health for the east of England, said the SHA was supportive of the ban as it would protect employees and the public from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke

“Smoking is the most significant health problem in the east of England,” he said. “Around a quarter of the adult population smoke with more than 700 smoking-related deaths occurring each month in this region.

“Smoking is extremely addictive and we fully appreciate that it takes tremendous will power and dedication for people to quit smoking.

“That's why the NHS provides smokers with free and confidential smoking support services to help people live a much healthier lifestyle.”

For free and confidential help and support to give up smoking, contact your nearest NHS stop smoking service today telephone 0800 0856037

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