Call from public health chiefs for more in West Midlands to join record numbers quitting tobacco - The Solihull Observer

Call from public health chiefs for more in West Midlands to join record numbers quitting tobacco

Solihull Editorial 22nd Sep, 2020   0

SMOKERS in the West Midlands are moving to quit tobacco in record numbers, according to new research.

Prevalence of smoking among adults in the region is at a record low of 14.1 per cent.

Almost 100,000 smokers in the West Midlands have been motivated to stop during the coronavirus pandemic, according to public health data.

A new campaign set to run throughout next month is calling on smokers to join the million smokers in England who quit during the coronavirus lockdown.

Doctors say quitting tobacco will immediately improve lung health, strengthen the immune system and help former smokers breathe easier.

Risks from flu and Covid-19 are also likely to be reduced by stopping smoking.

Figures from a University College London study shows that compared to 2019, the proportion of smokers in England making a quit attempt has increased from 29 per cent to 35 per cent, an increase of almost a quarter.

The success rate for quit attempts has risen from 14 per cent to 23 per cent, representing an increase of almost two thirds, the highest in over a decade.

Lola Abudu, Deputy Director for Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England in the West Midlands said: “We’re reminding smokers that now more than ever, is the time to put your lungs first, quit smoking and breathe easier.

“Stoptober has already helped two million smokers make a quit attempt, and we know that the campaign provides a great opportunity for people who are thinking about stopping to take the plunge and quit for good.

“For anyone thinking of quitting, it’s important to remember that it is much easier to quit with the right support and by doing it in Stoptober you can be confident that you are not doing it alone.”

Professor Jamie Brown, Director of the UCL Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group and co-author of a living rapid evidence review on smoking and COVID-19, said:

“Evidence shows that many more smokers are trying to quit in 2020 and the highest numbers are succeeding since at least 2007.

“While the evidence on COVID-19 outcomes for smokers is still developing and remains uncertain, what is clear is that stopping smoking brings rapid improvements in respiratory and cardiovascular health.

“Quitting now will not only benefit people’s individual health and help improve their lung health ahead of flu season, but it will also help to reduce the demands on the healthcare system in these difficult times.”

The Stoptober campaign is offering a personal quit plan, with options including expert support from local Stop Smoking Services, stop smoking aids and digital tools.

Options can be found be searching ‘stoptober’ online.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health says: “Over a million smokers may have succeeded in stopping smoking since COVID-19 hit Britain, but millions more have carried on smoking. This campaign is designed to encourage those who’ve not yet succeeded, to wake up and decide today is the day to stop smoking.”

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