Smokers In Trafford Are Quitting In Their Droves

Latest figures show that the percentage of people smoking in Greater Manchester has reached a record low. And during Stoptober, even more smokers in Trafford are being urged to grab support and start their own quit attempt.

The unprecedented numbers giving up smoking can be linked to the wide range of help available. Evidence shows that people are four times more likely to stay smokefree if they get support.

Assistance is already provided through specialist stop-smoking services, including the Smokefree National Helpline at https://quitnow.smokefree.nhs.uk or on 0300 123 1044. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm.

And with the launch of innovative online support for Stoptober, more help is available than ever before. The new Stoptober Personal Quit Plan offers individual smokers tailored recommendations for the best ways of successfully quitting, based on the amount they smoke and any previous attempts to stop smoking. Search ‘Stoptober’ for details.

People can also receive practical advice on the range of services near to them through Greater Manchester’s own dedicated, free stop-smoking helpline: 0300 123 1044.

One successful local quitter is Leigh Webber, who quit to beat early stages lung cancer – and is urging people to get themselves some quitting support so they can enjoy being free from cigarettes too.

Leigh, 56, of Timperley, who used to smoke up to 20 a day, made the decision that she was finally going to give up because she hated being so dependent on something.

The teaching assistant said: “I had always enjoyed smoking and over the years I had brainwashed myself that I enjoyed it and needed it. When people used to say about the money it cost, I would try to reason about other things I don’t spend money on.

“During the last 10 years of smoking I had tried giving up a couple of times, both with patches, once for six weeks and the other time for 10 weeks. When I look back I was trying to give up physically but had not realised how much more there was to it, for me anyway.”

At the age of 54, and nearly 40 years of smoking, Leigh decided it was time to finally quit: “I just decided I didn’t want to be a smoker any longer. I didn’t like the thought that I was so dependent on something, it had got more a minority that socially smoked now and I started thinking that I had done enough of not really being very nice to my body.”

By reading and researching about the best ways of quitting smoking Leigh came up with a plan that she felt would work for her. Alongside giving up smoking she also began eating more healthily, and took up running – she had her final cigarette in November 2016.

Over the previous few months, a nagging pain in her back led her to seek medical advice. She was devastated to find out that that she had early stages cancer and a small tumour had been discovered. Leigh had an operation to remove the top part of her lobe.

She said: “I was lucky, 80% of people when diagnosed with lung cancer are inoperable. I really felt like I’d been given a second chance.”

Leigh urges anyone still smoking to give quitting a go: “If you can REALLY imagine how good and proud you would feel to not be a smoker any more, then research as much as you can, find and realise the main thing is that we brainwashed ourselves that we enjoy or need to smoke! Get to love yourself enough to realise you deserve better.”

Matthew Evison, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at University Hospital South Manchester and a Lung Cancer Expert, said: “Many smokers don’t fully appreciate the strength of tobacco addiction. This is a physical disease where the brain becomes dependent on nicotine. Without nicotine, a smoker will suffer intense withdrawal symptoms and that’s why it’s so hard to quit smoking without help.

“This Stoptober we want as many smokers as possible to seek out treatment and support and beat this disease once and for all. There is no greater intervention a smoker can do to improve their health than to stop smoking.”

Sarah Price, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership’s Director for Population Health, said: “As Stoptober approaches we are urging people to have a look at the wide-range of support that’s out there for them and grab it with both hands.

“If you’ve made the decision to stop smoking then we would urge you to not try and go it alone, and instead increase your chances of success by getting support in place. Give our helpline a call on 0300 123 1044 or check out the Stoptober Personal Quit Plan and set a date to quit.”

She added: “We want Greater Manchester to be the first city region in Europe to make smoking history, an aim that is supported by four out of five Greater Manchester residents. This may seem like a tall order, but with all the practical on-the-ground help that’s offered to smokers we are doing everything we can to make this a reality.”

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