Stub it out!

PUBLISHED: 13:02 29 December 2006 | UPDATED: 22:28 28 May 2010

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

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.

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 2007, 30,000 people in Cambridgeshire must be employed in workplaces with smoke free policies - there are currently 27,933 people. 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.

CAMQUIT, a free service to help smokers who are thinking about or who have already chosen to quit is being launched by Cambridgeshire PCT.

Claire Mead, Healthy Lifestyle Co-ordinator said: "Evidence shows that smokers are four times more likely to successfully quit by using support services and nicotine replacement.

"During the last three years 7,300 people in Cambridgeshire have chosen to give up smoking with the help of local NHS Stop Smoking Services which have now combined efforts to form CAMQUIT.

"The New Year is an excellent opportunity for people to quit smoking. Quitting smoking has many benefits such as better health, increased vitality and you look younger. Also at nearly £5 for 20 cigarettes, quitting a pack a day is like giving yourself a pay rise - you could save £30 a week, welcome news after Christmas. If you want to prepare to quit in the New Year get in touch with your local CAMQUIT Team."

Cigarette smoking is estimated to kill more than 2,300 people in Cambridgeshire each year. From July 1 Smoke Free Legislation comes into force aimed at protecting people from the harmful effects of second hand smoke. The legislation will mean smoking is not allowed in enclosed public places and workplaces.

The PCT says CAMQUIT will support people in the lead up to the new law so they can cope with the changes.

Contact the CAMQUIT team for East Cambs and Fenland on (0800) 018 4304 or visit www.camquit.nhs.uk

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