HUNDREDS of quitters are expected through the doors of just one of the county’s dozens of stop smoking clinics over the next few weeks.
As New Year’s resolutions to give up cigarettes begin to kick in the Quit Shop on Gloucester’s Southgate Street is bracing itself for a busy time.
Last January the Quit Shop, run by Gloucestershire NHS Stop Smoking Service, saw over 800 people.
And its service manager Elaine Watson expects it to be at least the same in 2014.
“We see around 200 people per week at our Quit Shop,” she said.
“Our friendly advisers offer free practical support and advice to help each individual to reach their goal.”
Since it started in 2001 the service has helped more than 26,000 people in the county to stop smoking.
The service has over 100 clinics in Gloucestershire to help, 80 of them in GP surgeries and 30 at pharmacies.
This year the Quit Shop’s efforts with nicotine addicts will also be backed by a new NHS campaign, launched today. (jan 30)
The campaign “Smokefree Health Harms” is from Public Health England.
It will use tv and other advertising to highlight the toxic damage tobacco smoke does to vital organs such as the brain, as well as the lungs.
In Gloucestershire the average smoking prevalence per 100,000 of the population is 18.48 per cent.
But 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, said Dr Shona Arora, Public Health England’s centre director for Avon, Gloucestershire and Somerset.
“Half of long term smokers die prematurely from a smoking related disease,”Dr Arora said.
“So highlighting the unseen damaging effect smoking has on the body’s major organs provides a real motivation for people to stop.”
Said Dr Arora: “We know about the serious effect smoking has on the heart and lungs, but smokers need to be aware of how much potential damage is being done to the brain and other vital organs through toxins in cigarettes entering the blood.”
Studies also suggest that smoking accelerates cognitive decline.
However Dr Arora said it wasn't all doom and gloom.
“Smokers looking to quit this New Year will have reduced their risk of a stroke to the same as a lifetime non-smoker five years after they’ve stopped,” she said.
The full range of Smokefree support, including face to face advice, can be accessed via the website: nhs.uk/Smokefree.
Alternatively to find the Quit Shop or a stop smoking clinic near you call 0300 421 0040, free text GLOS to 80800 or follow Twitter @stopsmokingglos.