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GLASWEGIANS ARE STUBBING IT OUT

March 24, 2006 11:27 AM

Record numbers of Glaswegians are contacting NHS Greater Glasgow for help to quit smoking before Sunday's national ban comes into force.

Between increased numbers signing up to NHS Greater Glasgow's unique, pharmacy-led "Starting Fresh" scheme, and others joining smoking cessation groups, more than 30,000 people have asked for help and support to give up smoking since their launch two years ago.

June Waugh, Project Officer of "Starting Fresh," involving 200 chemists throughout the city, said: "On average, 1200 people register with the Starting Fresh pharmacies each month but these numbers have soared to at least 2000 each month since January.

"Most smokers are supporting the ban because they feel it will help them in their attempts to stop smoking.

"Many people relapse when they are socialising in pubs, clubs and restaurants due to peer pressure from friends so the fact that no one will be smoking in public places will provide them with an added incentive to help them stay stopped."

"Starting Fresh" pharmacies offer free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products such as patches and inhalers to those exempt from NHS prescription charges.  Evidence suggests that this doubles the chances of smokers giving up.

Starting Fresh also offers support to young people between the age of 12 and 17 years who want to stop smoking

Quit success rates four weeks after stopping so far have reached up to 38 per cent since the pharmacy initiative was launched in 2003.

A key factor in the success of "Starting Fresh" is its "drop-in" approach, where clients can access NRT and support from their community pharmacy for up to 12 weeks.

Liz Grant, Public Health Pharmacist, NHS Greater Glasgow, added:  "Starting Fresh, is now running in more than 93% of pharmacies in Greater Glasgow. 

"Pharmacies are easily accessible with extended opening hours and in many cases open seven days a week.

"No appointment is necessary to speak to the trained pharmacist or assistant to find out about the scheme. 

"All that is necessary to join up and become a non-smoker is the determination and will power that go hand in hand with nicotine replacement therapy and support which will be provided to you from local community pharmacies."

"Visit your local pharmacy or freephone 0800389 3210 for further information!"

Smoking cessation groups are also reporting increased membership, and more have been set up to meet demand.

Agnes McGowan, NHS Greater Glasgow's Principal Health promotion Officer Tobacco, said:

"We know that there are more groups running and the groups are very busy, there has been a tremendous upsurge in members.

"There has also been an increase in the volume of phone calls, at one point we have been getting up to 45 calls a day from smokers."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Information about smoking cessation groups and other advice is available on the following websites, www.nhsgg.org.uk; and www.smokingconcerns.com or telephone 0141 201 9825; and by calling the Smokeline on 0800 84 84 84.

For further media information contact 0141 201 4429.

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