As people start their New Year’s resolutions, a free stop smoking service has launched in the London Borough of Newham, provided by experts at Queen Mary University of London.
Smoking remains the biggest cause of death and illness in Newham and almost 40,000 residents in the borough are smokers. This represents around 14% of the adult population, which is higher than the London average (13%).
The new service covers all of Newham and targets smokers at greatest risk of developing serious health problems (including Covid-19). This is because smokers generally have a higher risk of contracting respiratory infection and, if they develop Covid, smokers are more likely to experience severe symptoms. Stopping smoking will bring immediate benefit if you have an existing smoking related disease or underlying health problems.
Queen Mary University of London has extensive experience in delivering advice and support in helping people give up tobacco. The service offers a free and flexible 8-week treatment program with a stop smoking adviser (with language support if required) and FREE Nicotine Replacement Therapy, prescription medication or electronic cigarettes.
Adapting to the challenges of the pandemic, the service combines telephone and online support, including Zoom video conferencing. COVID-secure face-to-face support will also be available, in line with lockdown restrictions. Also, if smokers would prefer to access a nearby pharmacy to quit smoking, that option is still available (see below for more information).
Councillor Zulfiqar Ali, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said “Smoking is a leading cause of preventable premature death in Newham. During these unprecedented times it is vital that we have services like these to support people to quit and live healthier lives. In Newham we are committed to tackling the health inequalities that exist within the borough. Working towards a smoke free Newham is a priority in our recently launched strategy ‘50 Steps to a healthier Newham’ and this service is key to achieving this”.
Dr Duncan Trathen, Respiratory Lead for Newham CCG, said "Giving up smoking is the single most important change people can make for their long term health and I am pleased that this is a high priority for health services in Newham. Stop smoking support services provide information on and access to a combination of different approaches that can help people to quit smoking”.
Peter Hajek, Professor of Clinical Psychology at Queen Mary University of London said: “Stopping smoking with expert help increases the chances of success three or four-fold. We’ve helped thousands of smokers successfully quit through our treatment programme, and we’re pleased to now offer this free specialist service to Newham residents, alongside other existing providers.”
Newham residents who want to quit smoking can self-refer to the service by: