Ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Sunday 31 May, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is encouraging anyone who would like to quit smoking to reach out to the Quit Your Way service.
Since lockdown began on 23 March, 822 people have decided to break the habit with the help of Quit Your Way, some who have cited COVID-19 as inspiration for doing so. The service offers free information, advice and support, including nicotine replacement therapy or Champix, tablets which reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
This comes as evidence emerges from ASH Scotland that smokers may be more at risk of COVID-19. Smoking tobacco damages the lungs and airways, causing a range of severe respiratory problems while the virus is known to attack the respiratory system. There is also the additional risk for smokers of contracting the virus because of repetitive hand to mouth movements.
Dr Linda de Caestecker, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Director of Public Health said:
“Most people who smoke will have tried to stop before, but there has never been a more important time to quit. It’s encouraging to see so many people decide to break their smoking habit during lockdown.
“We have adapted our Quit Your Way services because of COVID-19 but continue to provide support to anyone who needs help, including telephone support.
“As a smoker, the single most important thing you can do to improve your health is to quit which reduce risks from respiratory tract infections, cancer, COPD, heart disease, and improve your life expectancy.”
Smoke-free in lockdown in Clydebank
Three life-long smokers in Clydebank have all remained smoke-free during lockdown, with the help of Quit Your Way and their local allotments.
Joe Brady was the first to call Quit Your Way, where he was set up with a 12-week programme including weekly one-to-one support. Friends Ian Lennox and Gary Doherty followed suit after seeing Joe’s success while tending to their local allotments where they grow potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, broccoli and the like. Ian and Gary will finish their 12-week programme on World No Smoking Day this weekend.
Gary Doherty had smoked for over 30 years. He said: “I thought with lockdown it could go either way but I became more determined and dug my heels in and decided I’m not giving up. Being able to speak to someone once a week was a real lift.
“It’s given me a new lease of life. If I can do it - after smoking 20 cigarettes a day - then anyone can do it. I’ve had support from my kids too. After not spending 60 quid a week on cigarettes, hope we can go on a nice holiday after this.”
Joe Brady said: “The service was excellent – they really want to help you as much as they can. I really appreciate it. Fortunately with lockdown we’ve been allowed to go to our allotments every day and keep our distance.”
Ian Lennox had been smoking for 40 years, with a few breaks in between. He said Quit Your Way and being able to support each other while tending to their allotments has been a huge help.
To find out about the stop smoking services and to access the best support to quit in your area call the Quit Your Way service on 0800 916 8858 or visit QuitYourWay.scot.
If you don’t want to stop smoking right now, there are things you can do to protect yourself and others: