Health professionals in Nottingham are warning that risks of cancer and heart disease remain high for those who class themselves as ‘social smokers’.
Many people choose only to light up on nights out or at parties, but the message ahead of national No Smoking Day on Wednesday 8 March is that the only way to be completely sure is to quit – there is no safe level of smoking.
Statistics show that half of all long-term smokers will die from their habit and now is a perfect time to go smokefree.
Every year, thousands of people decide to make No Smoking Day the moment in their life that they begin the journey of quitting what, for some, has been a lifelong habit.
Help and support is available every step of the way through local stop-smoking service New Leaf, which can be contacted free on 0800 561 2121, by texting ‘NEW’ to 80800 or visiting www.newleafstopsmoking.co.uk.
Alison Challenger, Director of Public Health at Nottingham City Council, said: “We’ve made great progress in Nottingham over the past few years and have seen a significant reduction in the number of adult smokers – from 39 per cent in 2009 to 24 per cent at the last count.
“However, we know we still have work to do to move closer to the rest of country, where smoking rates are more like 17 per cent.
“We think national No Smoking Day is a great time to remind all smokers, including those who perhaps wouldn’t necessarily class themselves as such, that there has never been a better time to quit.
“Even if you only smoke on nights out, at weekends, or in your lunch hour, if you want to stop we can help you to do that, with New Leaf support from the point that you take the decision through to emerging on the other side as a non-smoker.”
Cutting down can help smokers to quit but taking the next step is the most important one. Support from professionals, family and friends can make all the difference.
Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and a consultant in respiratory medicine at Nottingham University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Many smokers who are aware of the risks will cut down on how much they smoke, hoping this will reduce the harm.
“But the fact is there is no safe level of smoking. Even one cigarette a day carries a substantial health risk, especially for heart disease.
“If you’re worried about the effect of smoking on your health, or the health of those around you, you need to quit smoking. If you still need nicotine you can get that from medicines or electronic cigarettes, but you have to say goodbye to all tobacco.”
Perween Riaz, Specialist Advisor at New Leaf, said: “We offer a range of flexible options for help and support to stop smoking, including sessions across Nottingham City in the evening and on Saturdays. We also offer telephone support for people who are unable to attend a face-to-face session.
“You are four times more likely to stop smoking with New Leaf and using nicotine replacement. Even if you have quit with us before, you are more than welcome to come back. We understand stopping smoking is not a ‘walk in the park’ but with our support you have the best chance of remaining smokefree.”