Smokers of Sunderland: Now is the time to quit

Undated file photo of a woman smoker as women who smoke during pregnancy rob their children of a key protection against heart disease, research has shown. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday June 22, 2011. Babies of smoking mothers undergo changes in the womb that lead them to have lower levels of good cholesterol. See PA story HEALTH Smoking. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

Undated file photo of a woman smoker as women who smoke during pregnancy rob their children of a key protection against heart disease, research has shown. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday June 22, 2011. Babies of smoking mothers undergo changes in the womb that lead them to have lower levels of good cholesterol. See PA story HEALTH Smoking. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

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SMOKERS in Sunderland are being urged to step up their attempts to quit.

December is when many smokers start to think about a healthier new year, and Fresh, the UK’s first dedicated regional programme for tobacco control, is asking North East smokers to give it a go.

The party season can be a challenging time for those who have quit smoking and are having their first smoke-free Christmas.

But staying smoke free not only has health benefits but financial ones too.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “I would urge anyone who is thinking about quitting smoking to have a go in 2013. It’s easier than you think it will be, it’ll improve your health and will help you to save money.”

With the new year the most popular time to attempt to quit, NHS Stop Smoking Services say now is a great time to get prepared.

Pam Lee, public health consultant at NHS South of Tyne and Wear which covers Sunderland, said: “If you’re worried about how to stay quit this party season, it’s a good idea to be prepared and have a plan in place to deal with potentially tricky situations. For example, if you’re out at a party you may feel tempted, so if you are using a nicotine-replacement product, make sure you have it with you.

“And if you are thinking about quitting altogether for the new year, it’s not as hard as you might think.

“Your best chance of success is to visit your local NHS Stop Smoking Service, which is staffed by friendly advisers, who will work with you to help you through your quit attempt.

“People who use the services are much more likely to quit successfully, and it’s a great way to improve your chances if you’ve tried before, but not succeeded.

“Lots of smokers have tried to quit before, and the trick is to keep trying and improve your health in the new year.”

The NHS says if you quit on January 1 and make it through to the end of the month, you are five times more likely to stay smoke free.

One-to-one support is provided through a network of stop-smoking advisers in pharmacies, GP practices and other locations across South of Tyne and Wear, with advisers providing a 12-week stop-smoking programme.

For more information about the NHS Stop Smoking Service call 0800 5316317.

Twitter: @Sunderlandecho