NHS quit smoking campaign targets Hackney smokers

Pic: Sudipto SarkarA special ‘stop smoking’ drive has this week been launched to target smokers in Hackney, where the percentage of adult smokers is higher than that of the capital and the nation.

One in four Hackney residents are smokers, compared with just under 19 per cent in London and 20 per cent of the entire country, according to research conducted in 2011-2012.

The same figures, however, showed that two thirds of the overall UK population want to quit.

SmokeFree City&Hackney, a local NHS service helping those who want to give up tobacco, has launched No Smoking Day two weeks ahead of the national day on March 13 to provide a head start for those wanting to give up tobacco.

This year’s quit campaign is about finances, showing the borough’s smokers how much they might typically spend on tobacco products over time: £7 a day, £ 49 per week, £210 per month, or £2555 in a year.

Jonathan McShane, cabinet member for health, said: “One of the biggest incentives for smokers to quit comes from considering the real amount of money they spend on cigarettes and thinking about what themselves and their family could afford if they were to give up for good. By tallying up the exact amount of money that could be saved, smokers can work towards an actual goal, which may be a new pair of shoes or a family trip to the cinema.”

Health promotion stalls to help smokers quit will be set up across the borough on March 13, including Homerton Hospital, Morning Lane Tesco and Hackney Community College.

McShane stressed the symbolic value of No Smoking Day: “It provides the perfect opportunity for people to join hundreds of others in Hackney attempting to quit on the same day. This is why spreading the word about the support available is so important, to help many make their first steps towards a healthier and wealthier, smoke free life.”

The No Smoking day campaign merged with the British Heart Foundation in 2011 and is now in its 30th year, having helped more than 760,000 people quit smoking last year and inspired another 1.5 million to seek out information to help them quit in future.

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