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Norfolk County Council behind Stoptober campaign

Public Health England’s Stoptober campaign is back for 2020, to encourage the nation’s smokers to make a quit attempt during October.

Now in its ninth year, the campaign is based on evidence that if a smoker can quit for 28 days, they are five times more likely to quit for good.

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk County Council’s director of public health, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the damaging effects of smoking on lung health sharply into focus.

"The virus primarily attacks the lungs and as smoking impairs lung function, it can make it harder for the body to fight off Coronaviruses and other diseases.

"People who smoke generally have an increased risk of contracting a respiratory infection and once infected, symptoms can be more severe.”

“Although the number of smokers in Norfolk has fallen over the last few years, compared to the national average, it is still one of the biggest causes of preventable death in the county.

"If you are a smoker, the best thing you can do to protect your health is to try and quit. Giving up smoking can be very difficult, so Stoptober is a perfect time to get started.

"There is a free Stoptober app to help you quit and stop smoking services such as Smokefree Norfolk offer one-to-one support.

"Smokefree Norfolk can also advise on tools to help you stay smoke free such as nicotine patches, gum and e-cigarettes.”

Councillor Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for public health and prevention added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought new challenges and put intense pressure on our health, care and wellbeing services.

"It has also caused many people to take a closer look at their own lifestyle and see that it really matters to look after their health.

“If you are a smoker, quitting is one of the best things you’ll ever do for your health.

"The benefits of quitting smoking start almost immediately, your lungs will have the chance to repair and you will be able to breathe more easily.

"It’s never too late to quit and Stoptober offers the perfect opportunity to make your pledge.

"To help you along the way, there is a wealth of support available online and through local services such as Smokefree Norfolk.”

Case study Stuart. (42468217)
Case study Stuart. (42468217)

Case study Stuart, 44, is a lorry driver and has smoked since he was 16. He gave up ten years ago but started smoking again when he went through a particularly difficult time in his life.

He’s now remarried and has a happy family life.

But the death of his mum and aunt and the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic made him take a closer look at his own health.

Stuart said: “I have asthma and type 2 diabetes and I know I need to lose weight and exercise more. I decided to quit smoking because I want to be around for my partner, to see my kids grow up and be fit enough to play with them and enjoy family life.”

He received support from Smokefree Norfolk. A counsellor explained how smoking can damage health and talked him through the range of tools available to help him quit.

He’s about to start a four-week course of prescription medication which helps to reduce cravings and to put him off smoking.

“I’m determined to quit for good this time - the willpower is there," he said.

"I’ve also just been given a brand-new lorry – it doesn’t smell of smoke and I’m going to make sure it stays that way."

Case study Michelle, 29, is a support worker who has smoked since she was 13.

Michelle quit smoking six weeks ago and is doing really well.

She has tried to give up smoking twice before – the last time when she was pregnant.

Michelle said: “I have bad asthma and smoking makes it much worse. I had a terrible smokers cough and was getting really sick of it.

"When I gave up smoking, the cough stopped almost immediately, so that’s my incentive to keep going.”

Michelle got support to quit from Smokefree Norfolk and said: “They talked me through all the options available to help me quit and I chose to have nicotine patches and an inhalator.

"I found giving up smoking really hard at first and craved a real cigarette but I used the inhalator instead as it doesn’t put smoke in my lungs.

"Now I’m only using the inhalator about once a day – and hope to have fully quit in another four weeks. I’ve lost weight and feel so much healthier.”

For help to quit smoking contact Smokefree Norfolk by visiting: www.smokefreenorfolk.nhs.uk or calling 0800 0854113.

You can also download the free NHS Stoptober app for help to quit smoking at: www.nhs.uk/stoptober

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