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NHS Health Scotland Hits The Streets To Help Scotlands Smokers Kick The Habit

December 13, 2007 11:36 AM

NHS Health Scotland has launched its latest stop smoking campaign at The Forge Shopping Centre in Glasgow with support from local MSP Frank McAveety.

Cinema advertising is being twinned with regional roadshows in areas where smoking rates are highest in Scotland, based on the recent Tobacco Atlas report on smoking prevalence. It is aimed at Scotland’s smokers – in particular the 723,000 adult smokers in Scotland who say they would like to quit. The campaign kicks off in town centres to catch pre-Christmas shoppers and runs until the end of January 2008, geared to help those who list stopping smoking as a New Year resolution.

Stop smoking advisers from local health boards will be on hand with free DVDs, giving information and support to anyone thinking of quitting. There will be a test to show passers-by how much carbon monoxide is in their lungs, Smokers will also be able to find out more about free motivational advice through Smokeline, the freephone helpline, to help them through their quit attempts.

Kerry McKenzie, Health Improvement Programme Manager at Health Scotland, says: “It’s all about practical support. Our research shows that smokers are four times more likely to quit if they combine nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) with stop smoking sessions. So we are going all-out to show would-be quitters how much help is available free of charge from their local NHS board and give them the encouragement they need – with no preaching.”

The roadshow spends four days in and around Glasgow, where evidence shows 30% of adults smoke, with 1,300 Glaswegians dying each year from smoking-related diseases. Smoking rates are particularly high in the north and east parts of the city, where in some areas over half the adult population smokes. North and East Glasgow Community Health and Care Partnerships both have 37.5% of their adult population smoking – nearly 70,000 people combined.

Frank McAveety, local MSP for Glasgow Shettleston – the constituency with the highest smoking rate in the country, at 40% – is joining Health Scotland on day one of the roadshow to show his support: “Quote to be provided”

Keep Well Tobacco Co-ordinator for NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Kay Samson said: “There is lots of help available in Glasgow if you really want to stop. Stop smoking groups are relaxed, informal, free and a great way to help you quit.”

While surveys show that adult smoking has continued to reduce in Scotland, from 27% in 2004 to 25% in 2006 (Scottish Household Survey, 2006), it still accounts for almost 13,500 deaths each year, making it the biggest cause of death and ill health in Scotland. Of 1,048,800 Scots who smoke, 69% report that they would like to stop smoking completely.

In early January, the Stop Smoking roadshow moves on across Scotland to hotspots in Ayrshire, the Borders, the Highlands, Aberdeenshire, Perthshire, Tayside, the Lothians and central belt. These roadshows will be supported by the ‘Smokesnakes’ passive smoking in nearby cinemas, illustrating the danger of exposure to second-hand smoke at home or in the car. There will also be a community television campaign running concurrently in key shopping centres, upping the opportunity for smokers who are ready to quit to keep it front of mind and take action.

--ENDS--

Notes for editors:

For more information, please contact:

Katherine Beattie, Communications Manager, NHS Health Scotland on 0131 536 5550. 

1. The number for Smokeline is 0800 84 84 84

2. The Tobacco Atlas can be found at www.scotpho.org.uk/tobaccoatlas.

3. The Stop Smoking roadshow will call the following hotspots: Glasgow city centre (3 Jan); Clydebank (4 Jan); Paisley (5 Jan); Helensburgh (7 Jan); Kilmarnock (8 Jan); Ayr (9 Jan); Kelso (11 Jan); Haddington (12 Jan); Inverness (15 Jan); Fraserburgh (16 Jan); Aberdeen (17 Jan); Perth (18 Jan); Dundee (19 Jan); Stirling (21 Jan); Livingston (22 Jan); Motherwell (23 Jan); Hamilton (24 Jan); East Kilbride (25 Jan); Falkirk (26 Jan); Edinburgh (28 Jan); and Paisley (29 Jan).

4. Stop smoking services are available across Scotland with a range of options including one-to-one and group support and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), e.g. patches, to help people overcome nicotine addiction. In 2006, 46,466 people used NHS stop smoking services and 34% were not smoking after a month. http://www.isdscotland.org/isd/servlet/FileBuffer?namedFile=JantoDecanalysis.pdf&pContentDispositionType=inline

5. The Midspan studies by Glasgow University show that people who were middle-aged smokers in the mid-1970s have died, on average, 3.5 years younger than those who were non-smokers (including ex-smokers).

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