Commuters travelling by train or bus within Greater Glasgow and Clyde are being targeted by a major advertising campaign aimed at making the area smokefree.
The drive to promote NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's (NHSGGC's) stop smoking services includes huge adverts on trains and buses, high-profile radio advertising and a major poster campaign within four of Glasgow's busiest railway stations.
The giant station adverts promote local stop smoking services and are the focal point of a massive drive to highlight Smokefree Services, NHSGGC's one-stop programme to help smokers who want to quit. Anyone looking to kick the habit can access personalised help and advice simply by contacting Smokefree Services. Unveiled today, the railway station campaign also coincides with national No Smoking Day, the theme of which this year is The Great No Smoking Day Challenge.
Created at the end of 2007 to bring all of NHSGGC's separate tobacco-related projects under one umbrella identity, Smokefree Services has a bright new logo and its own slogan - Together we are Stronger.
Fiona Dunlop, Joint Coordinator of Smokefree Services, said: "Our aim is to cut the local smoking rate from its present level of 30 per cent, the highest proportion anywhere in Scotland, by making it much simpler for smokers to get help. We have some of the best stop smoking services in the country and it's important that we make people aware of them.
"Thousands of smokers will see these adverts as they make their way to and from work, so they'll be reminded at least twice a day that there's help out there and that they're not alone. All they have to do in the first instance is get in touch with Smokefree Services.
"Now that our services are all under this new banner, it should be easier for smokers to get support to stop. All you have to do in the first instance is call 0800 84 84 84 or visit our website at www.nhsggc.org.uk/smokefreeservices.
"It's obviously not easy to give up cigarettes but knowing where to get help is half the battle."
Glasgow and Clyde. A two-week long radio advertising campaign will also feature on-street activity and on-air interviews with smokers.
As well as colourful poster and floor panels at Queen Street, Glasgow Central, Argyle Street and Exhibition Centre railway stations, suburban trains throughout the city and Clyde are carrying the message, which is also emblazoned on buses throughout Greater
The poster and floor sites within the stations will run for two weeks, while the bus information panel campaign will last for four weeks.
The health board serves around a quarter of the population of Scotland and already has the most extensive programme of stop smoking help in Scotland, with over 65,000 smokers seeking help since 2003. It is hoped that that number will be increased by making it easier to seek assistance.
Fiona went on: "We have linked up with Smokeline, the national helpline, and smokers calling this number will be given advice and support and directed to the most appropriate stop smoking services in their area. Stop smoking groups are available in all areas of Greater Glasgow and Clyde and most local pharmacies also provide stop smoking support.
"Mums will be offered the help of Smokefree Services to give up smoking during pregnancy and of course Smokefree Services are also hard at work in local primary and secondary schools trying to prevent young people starting to smoke at all."
Mental health patients have access to help from Smokefree Services, as do patients in all acute hospitals across NHSGGC (which are already smokefree). Patients who wish to stop smoking while in hospital are seen by a specialist advisor who can arrange Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) if appropriate, and arrange for ongoing support.
Tobacco remains the single most preventable cause of ill-health and death in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, with around 280,000 smokers living within the health board boundaries. The highest smoking rates are found in the East and the North of the city, at 37.5%. In Barlanark and Easterhouse, levels rise to 52%. The lowest levels of smoking are found in East Dunbartonshire (18.6%) and East Renfrewshire (19.2%).
NHSGGC's Director of Public Health Dr Linda de Caestecker said: "Cutting smoking levels is one of NHSGGC's top priorities. Around 29% of deaths at all ages are attributable to smoking and here in Greater Glasgow and Clyde we have more smokers than the Scottish average. It's absolutely vital, therefore, that we make it as easy as possible for people to give up. Smokefree Services is all about making sure that, whoever you are, whatever your age or gender or where you live, you can get all the help you need.
"Smokefree Services can really help smokers who want to quit to do so. Evidence shows you're four times more likely to quit with help and support from these specialist services."
Smokefree Services can give specialist help to all smokers through community pharmacies and can offer extra assistance to smokers who have other needs too:
* Smokefree Training Services for NHSGGC staff, suitable for anyone who is expected to (or has the opportunity to) raise the issue of smoking in their job.
* Smokefree Youth Services are available in primary and secondary schools, providing preventative information and advice
* Smokefree Hospital Services are available in all hospitals for smokers who are hospital in-patients
* Smokefree Pharmacy Services in Greater Glasgow and Clyde community pharmacies offer NRT and brief support for smokers for up to 12 weeks on a drop-in, no appointment necessary basis
* Smokefree Pregnancy Services offered to all women booking for antenatal care
* Smokefree Community Services offer informal and friendly support groups, advice and NRT (where appropriate) over a 7-week period for about one hour per week
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.
Smokefree Services is absolutely free of charge and can be contacted by phone on 0800 84 84 84 or online at www.nhsggc.org.uk/smokefreeservices.
Sean Duffy, Scotland's Business Director for leading transport advertising company CBS Outdoor, who are working with Smokefree Services to roll out the campaign, added: "With so many smokers in the area, it's important that this message reaches as many people as possible. Buses and trains serving the county, travelling around Greater Glasgow and the surrounding area, are perfect for taking this message to the local community, raising awareness of the dangers of smoking and encouraging them to contact their local NHS Smokefree Services."