We won't quit in smoking campaign

HEALTH bosses in Suffolk have failed to get enough people to quit smoking, it emerged today.

Rebecca Lefort

HEALTH bosses in Suffolk have failed to get enough people to quit smoking, it emerged today.

NHS Suffolk, the county's primary care trust, had hoped to get 924 people to stub out their habit in the first three months of this financial year.

But just 648 people managed to quit in the period, leaving health promotion experts searching for new ways to target smokers who are harder to reach.

Sally Hogg, head of health improvement partnership at NHS Suffolk, said: “At the end of April we had the highest numbers of four-week quitters we had ever had; 4,083 quitters for the year.

“That was largely because of the changes in smoking legislation.

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“This year, as we expected, the demand has dropped. That is because the individuals who were motivated and ready to quit already have, and that leaves us with the more complex cases.

“NHS Suffolk has approved additional money for Suffolk Stop Smoking as a one-off and we're going to use it to do work with businesses and manual workers, and young people.

“We're thinking outside the box about different ways of engaging with people.”

Mrs Hogg said it would be tough to meet the target of getting 3,815 people to quit for at least four weeks by the end of the financial year, but she was determined to meet the challenge.

She added: “I have a team that is working flat out at it and the Suffolk Stop Smoking Service is working flat out too.

“We're not worrying because we know where we need to be targeting now.

“It is important because smoking is the biggest killer there is and quitting is the one single thing that people can do to really improve their health and their life chances.”

Have you manage to quit smoking? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.