Smokers special - Quit to stay fit

AS hundreds of smokers in Fenland make yet another New Year resolution to quit, a health chief has said helping them kick the habit is vital in improving the long-term health of the area. Dr Liz Robin, former director of public health for Fenland and now

AS hundreds of smokers in Fenland make yet another New Year resolution to quit, a health chief has said helping them kick the habit is vital in improving the long-term health of the area.

Dr Liz Robin, former director of public health for Fenland and now for the whole of Cambridgeshire, said: "Smoking cessation is one of the most important measures in creating long-term health improvement."

New targets have been issued in a bid to slash numbers of smokers. They are considered to be of huge importance as smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness and premature death in the UK.

There are currently 10million smokers in England, and 106,000 deaths a year attributed to smoking. Smoking-related illness costs the NHS £1.7billion each year.


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Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust's target for the county in 2006/07 is 2,785 four-week smoking quitters, for Fenland and East Cambs the target is 830.

In the first quarter there were 572 four-week smoking quitters in Cambridgeshire - a failure to meet the plan by 125 quitters.

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In addition to targets, a review has looked into promoting smoke-free workplaces and encouraging healthy lifestyles. Areas in Cambridgeshire scored either fair or good and a report will be released later in the year to give a national picture of services being provided and what improvements are needed.

By March this year, 30,000 people in Cambridgeshire must be employed in workplaces with smoke-free policies - there are currently 27,933 people in that category. By that date there must also be 15 fully licensed premises that are smoke free in the county, that target has already been achieved with 18 premises smoke free.

A countywide action plan has been developed which will include targeting GP practices where referrals and quitter numbers are poor, improving the collection of statistics, and tracking lost follow-up clients and patient registers which identify smokers.

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