Lewisham Stop Smoking Service helped a record number of smokers to quit in 2019/20, supporting nearly 1,000 of the borough’s smokers to break the habit.
Over the past three years the service has helped increasing numbers of people to quit. Not only that but their success rate beat national quit rates in the first three months of 2020, when over 60% of people attending the service stopped smoking. This is the highest quarterly quit rate the service has achieved and is 10% higher than the national quit rate for the year, despite the impact of COVID-19 in the final month.
The Stop Smoking Service based at University Hospital Lewisham has six specialist advisors and supports anyone that lives, works or studies in Lewisham who would like support to quit. Matthew Seal, Stop Smoking Team Lead, commented: ‘I’m very happy with the team’s performance this year. We have some amazing advisors who always go the extra mile to support their clients to quit, whether they are working with inpatients, at GP practices, or in the community.’
Ben Travis, Chief Executive of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust stated that: ‘The Stop Smoking Team provides an important service to our patients who smoke. Anyone wishing to quit should make them their first port of call to ensure that they have the greatest chance of successfully becoming smokefree.’
So who is quitting smoking?
Over 50% were people with a long-term condition related to smoking such as COPD, cancer or diabetes. Over 60% of people who quit came from households with a low income, saving them significant sums of money. So the support given by the Stop Smoking Service results in healthier and wealthier individuals. What’s more those who quit smoking become less likely to access vital services during the coronavirus pandemic while the NHS is under pressure to cope, and will go on to have a better quality of life now they have broken away from this addiction.
What are the benefits of quitting?
While many people understand that smoking is bad for the body, fewer realise that it also affects your mental wellbeing. On average smokers are more stressed, anxious, and depressed than non-smokers and former smokers. Quitting can help you become calmer and more relaxed as the nicotine withdrawal passes and you learn to cope with things you find stressful in more productive ways.
What support is on offer?
Since the end of March, the Stop Smoking Service has been delivered remotely rather than face to face, using phone support and the number of referrals has recently started rising. To meet the demand, a new online group started this month so that smokers can have a safe way to chat to each other and get support to quit at the same time.
Anyone living or working in Lewisham who would like help to quit smoking, can call 0800 0820 388 or email LG.SmokingReferrals@nhs.net to speak with a specialist advisor.