GP and Chair of Newham CCG gives advice on Stoptober

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- Credit: Archant

This month has been re-named Stoptober. Across the country smokers are being encouraged to get the support they need to stop smoking for good.

People in Newham have high levels of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a long term condition, which includes breathing disorders such as emphysema and bronchitis. We are also more likely to die younger from lung cancer than people in other parts of London. These are all health problems that can be caused and worsened by smoking.

Stopping smoking is the best thing a smoker can do for their health. Stopping at any time of life will bring health benefits. But the sooner you stop the better.

Nicotine, the main stimulant in cigarettes, is a very addictive substance. For most smokers who attempt to stop the urge to smoke can be powerful and draws them back. Some people can go it alone, go ‘cold-turkey’ and stop for good. But research shows that the most effective way to stop is through support from a stop smoking advisor and using a licensed nicotine product such as patches, gum or oral strip.

As well as being healthier for you stopping smoking saves you money and improves your sense of both taste and smell. These are all great benefits.

In Newham a stop smoking service is offered in many pharmacies, community centres and GP practices. As well as nicotine replacement they also offer one to one advice and support. The service has successfully supported thousands of people in Newham to stop. From this they have develop their top ten tips to stopping smoking. These are:

1. Attend Stop Smoking Service in Newham

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2. Set a date to stop and stick to it

3. Use an NHS approved treatment or medication. Your Stop Smoking Advisor can help you decide which product to use

4. Get rid of all cigarettes and tobacco, smoking devices, ashtrays and lighters

5. Let people know you are stopping – you are going to need their support

6. Make plans for coping with stressful situations and times when you know you usually smoke

7. Do something else – distract yourself any way you can

8. Try to put aside the money you would have spent on cigarettes each day and treat yourself with the money you have saved

9. Drink plenty of water or fruit juice

10. Think positively; take it one day at a time

As well as local support to stop, Stoptober is a national campaign. I encourage you to sign up today: stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk. Stoptober support includes a mobile phone app and text/email with daily updates and quitting advice. More from Dr Zarifa

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