New move to help smokers give up

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HEALTH chiefs are stepping up the fight against smoking-related diseases.

Smokefree Northwest is giving smokers the chance to pick up an even better NHS Quit Kit in 2011. For the first time, the kit includes a week’s free trial of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) patches. The patches can double smokers’ chance of quitting successfully.

The Quit Kit will be available from participating Co-operative, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Manichem and Whitworth pharmacies, followed by Superdrug and a range of independent pharmacies in February and March.

Andrea Crossfield, Director of Smoke Free North West, said: “New Year is a time when people try and make resolutions that will improve their lives – often with financial and health benefits. We want to be able to help people who decide to go smoke free in 2011 by providing them with useful tools, advice and support.

“Quitting is not easy but it can be made less difficult with the right support and tools. I’d urge anyone planning to quit this New Year to visit their nearest pharmacy to get a Quit Kit, call the national helpline or contact their Local NHS Stop Smoking Service.”

Every year 80,000 people die from smoking - and Wigan is one of the worst areas in the country for smoking-related deaths.

The new Quit Kits have been developed by NHS Smokefree together with smokers and experts and contain practical tools and advice to help smokers quit for good.

Items include: a coupon to request a week’s free trial of NRT patches; information on stop smoking medication; a ‘tangle’ to keep hands and mind busy; MP3 downloads that have been scientifically proven to reduce the urge to smoke; a wall-planner and stickers to track your quitting journey and many more giving up aides.

There are around eight million smokers in England – half of whom can expect to die of a smoking-related illness. Latest figures show that there were 1,825,306 quit attempts by smokers between January and March 2010. Janice Perkins, Pharmacy Superintendent at The Co-operative Pharmacy, said: “As a community pharmacy we feel it is vital to support the initiative and to give people more choice and opportunities to quit smoking. We know that the majority of smokers want to give up, but without the proper support many people find this difficult.

“Stopping smoking can make a huge difference to your health and automatically reduces your chances of getting serious illnesses.”

More information is available at www.smokefree.nhs.uk or call the helpline on 0800 022 4332.”