NHS hits Haddington to help local smokers kick the habit


A special road show is taking place outside John Muir House at Brewery Park from 10am-4pm.

The road show is one of a number of events that will be taking place across Scotland during January. The events are aimed at Scotland's smokers - in particular the 723,000 adult smokers in Scotland who say they would like to quit.

NHS Lothian stop smoking advisers will be on hand with free stop smoking DVD's, and to give information and support to anyone thinking of quitting. There will be a test to show passers-by how much carbon monoxide is in their lungs, and smokers will also be offered the opportunity of a free call from their local stop smoking services with information about the support available in their area.

Kerry McKenzie, Health Improvement Programme Manager at Health Scotland, says:

"It's all about practical support. Our research shows that smokers are four times more likely to quit if they combine nicotine replacement therapy with stop smoking sessions. So we are going all-out to show would-be quitters how much help is available free of charge and give them the encouragement they need - with no preaching."

Evidence shows that in the East Lothian Community Health Partnership area, 24.2% of the population smoke - equating to around 17,290 smokers.

Fiona Moore, NHS Lothian Smoking Cessation Co-ordinator, said:

"Getting help from the NHS is one way to try and ensure that your New Year resolution survives the January blues and you can successfully break free of an addiction which kills more than 1500 people in Lothian every year."

NHS Lothian has just launched a new scheme making getting help even easier. A selection of local pharmacies throughout Lothian, including four in East Lothian, now offer up to 12 weeks of one-to-one stop smoking support, with nicotine replacement therapy on prescription directly from the pharmacist if desired.

This means clients no longer have to visit their GPs for therapies such as patches or gum but instead have the convenience of going to the pharmacist instead.

NHS Lothian also provides other services to help people stop smoking. GPs can also prescribe special smoking cessation medication such as Champix or Zyban to people who agree to receive smoking cessation support.

While surveys show that adult smoking has continued to reduce in Scotland, from 27% in 2004 to 25% in 2006 (Scottish Household Survey, 2006), it still accounts for almost 13,500 deaths each year, making it the biggest cause of death and ill health in Scotland. Of 1,048,800 Scots who smoke, 69% report that they would like to stop smoking completely.