Liverpool City Council and health professionals are urging smokers who are considering quitting in January to take advantage of free support to improve their health and save money.
The message comes at a time when thousands of local smokers will aim to quit as part of their New Year’s resolutions.
Free support is available to smokers through Liverpool stop smoking services (Roy Castle Fag Ends) and through NHS Quit Kits from local pharmacies, and are now available to order online for the first time.
The call to quit follows a hard hitting national campaign by Public Health England which highlights the toxic effect of smoking on the heart, brain and lungs.
The new campaign, supported by TV advertising, brings to life the toxic cycle of dirty blood caused by inhaling the dangerous chemicals in cigarettes, including arsenic and cyanide flowing through the body and damaging major organs. The chemicals move through the heart, the lungs and into the bloodstream, finally damaging cells in the brain.
Along with the heart and lungs, the brain is particularly vulnerable to these toxins, leading to a faster decline in functionality and an increased risk of stroke and dementia.
Says Dr Paula Grey, Director of Public Health in Liverpool, “We want to help as many people as possible in Liverpool to kick the habit this January. There is a wide range of support available, including our local stop smoking services who help thousands of people every year to quit, as well as free quit kits and online support. Everyone wanting to stop smoking will be offered advice and support to help them in their quit attempt. Plus NHS support is estimated at being four times more effective than going ‘cold turkey’. If you have been thinking about quitting now is the time to do it.”
Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that smokers are twice as likely to die from a stroke than non-smokers . Smoking can cause the arteries to narrow which, in turn, increases the likelihood of blood clots that can lead to a stroke.
Studies also suggest that smoking accelerates cognitive decline in men and women leading smokers to experience poorer memory and a greater decline in reasoning in later life.
The risk of dementia, along with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are further increased when smoking is combined with any or all of heavy drinking, poor diet, lack of exercise and high blood pressure .
Twenty-five percent of people in Liverpool still smoke and figures compiled by ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) show that smoking costs the city approximately £26.9million every year through demands on NHS services, as well as £24.9million for loss of productivity from sick days and early death, litter (£3.4million) and fires (£5.1million).
Anyone looking to quit can visit www.stopsmoking.org.uk or www.nhs.uk/smokefree to receive free support tools and find details of where they can get professional advice through their local NHS stop smoking service. Roy Castle Fag Ends can be reached on 0800 195 2131.