Devon smokers offered quit support for Stoptober

Devon smokers will get extra help and support to quit their habit this month (October) as the national Stoptober campaign returns for its sixth year. Since the campaign first started in 2012, Stoptober has prompted over 1.7 million quit attempts. Research shows that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to kick the habit for good.

This year, the stop smoking campaign from Public Health England, aims to make it easier than ever for individuals to become smoke free. Rather than smokers ‘going cold turkey’, Stoptober encourages smokers to ‘quit with support’. An online Personal Quit Plan is available to help individual smokers to identify the most suitable support for them to maximise the chance of quit success. A variety of other Stoptober resources are available for those looking to quit, including email support tips, Facebook and Twitter updates and the Stoptober app.

Devon County Council is encouraging residents to use Stoptober as a springboard for attempting to quit, and to give people that extra support, its stop smoking service will be taking to the road.  A mobile quitting unit will be visiting local towns to offer free face to face support to anyone thinking of quitting, with specialist stop smoking advisors on hand throughout the day to speak to members of the public.

The council-commissioned healthy lifestyle service, OneSmallStep, will be setting up its quit van in Bedford Square (Princesshay), Exeter on 1 October.  Throughout the month it will visit different locations across the county as part of its annual programme of visits, calling on Newton Abbot (pedestrianised area opposite library) (4, 18 and 25 October), Bideford Asda (11 October) and Ilfracombe Tyrell Hospital (15 and 16 October), as well as visiting hospital and mental health service locations, to target some of the people most at risk of developing smoking-related diseases.
59-year-old Andrew was referred to OneSmallStep by his GP for support to quit smoking.

Andrew suffered from liver disease for over two years and was told he had to quit smoking, in order for his immune system to cope with a liver transplant. Andrew was a heavy smoker; he had his first cigarette aged 15 and since smoked an average of 20 a day.

Andrew said: “After the cancer came back, I was told I had to quit smoking otherwise I wouldn’t receive the transplant. I felt very low, I had attempted quitting numerous times in the past, but it didn’t work. I knew I had to be healthy for the transplant to be successful. I tried nicotine patches again, but I needed that extra support.”

Denise, a OneSmallStep stop smoking advisor, set up six fortnightly face-to-face sessions with him. The sessions focused on craving strategies, techniques to cope with withdrawal symptoms, the chemical processes involved with quitting and advice on staying healthy.

“Denise was able to answer all of my awkward questions. I gradually cut down the amount of nicotine in my patches and learnt techniques that worked for me.”

On top of the advice Denise gave Andrew around smoking, she offered him support around leading a healthier life and increasing physical activity to better prepare for the transplant.

“The strategies Denise showed me for dealing with my cravings were invaluable. I haven’t smoked a cigarette in over nine months and I feel determined and motivated to stay smoke-free.

“For me it was a mind trick. I kept busy and occupied but mostly I felt reassured knowing I had someone available on a regular basis.”

Devon County Council’s Director of Public Health, Virginia Pearson, said: “If you are a long term smoker or you have made multiple unsuccessful quit attempts in the past you should not give up hope – there has never been a better time to quit.  The evidence shows how important it is to get the right support and advice – you are four times more likely to quit with help from your local Stop Smoking Services.”

Victoria Banks, Service Manager for OneSmallStep said::  “Quitting smoking is one of the single best things anyone can do to improve their health and their energy levels, and reduce their risk of developing diseases and illnesses in the longer term.

“Our service can offer the support, encouragement and opportunity for people to quit in the way that best suits them, including advice on nicotine replacement, one on one coaching support  and other useful tips to help people stay on track and motivated.

“I’d encourage people to come along to our roadshow if they’re nearby, or to give us a call on our freephone local number, where they can begin their journey to becoming smokefree.”

Residents can contact the ‘OneSmallStep’ local stop smoking service by visiting the website www.onesmallstep.og.uk emailing hello@onesmallstep.org.uk or phoning an advisor on 01392 908139.

Face to face support is also available through GP practices and local pharmacies.