Essex second in the country for numbers to quit smoking
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The number of people to quit smoking in Essex in the last year is the second highest in the country, new government data has revealed.
According to the figures, 10,177 people had set a target date to stop smoking last year, with 5,650 of those reporting themselves as having successfully kicked the habit – behind only Lancashire County Council.
NHS stop smoking services use a Carbon Monoxide (CO) validation to measure the level of carbon monoxide in the bloodstream, which provides an indication of tobacco use, as a means of measuring whether smokers have successfully quit.
Of those measured, 4,066 were confirmed to have quit in the Essex County Council local authority area, behind only Birmingham which had 4,337.
Sue White, stop smoking lead for Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE), which delivers the majority of stop smoking services in the county, including in Colchester and Tendring, has welcomed the news.
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“I am delighted with second in the country,” she said. “We don’t tell you what to do but work with you because part of the treatment is the support.
“With social media, text messaging, email and website we are always accessible, and we have different programmes for different needs.”
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Staff at ACE have also noted the help high publicity campaigns such as Stoptober and New Year’s Resolutions do to encourage people to give up.
Ms White added: “When there are campaigns on TV we do especially well, which is why we do free sign-ups and are being proactive with it.”
However, bosses from Public Health Essex are keen to drive down the figures further.
Last month,the EADT revealed that on average one in 10 teenagers in Essex smoked, prompting Essex County Council to announce a raft of measures including working with Trading Standards and educating youngsters on the dangers of smoking.
Anne Brown, county council cabinet member of communities and healthy living, said: “Reducing smoking rates across the county is one of Essex County Council’s public health priorities.
“Our commissioned services work to support people in quitting, and these latest figures highlight that they are making a real difference to the health and wellbeing of our residents.
“We recognise that smoking is still the biggest health risk to the people of Essex and around 2,200 people die in Essex each year from smoking related causes. This is why we’re continuing to invest in smoking support services.
“We’re also promoting campaigns and initiatives targeted at educating young people about smoking related issues to prevent them from taking up the habit.”
ACE is also looking for e-cigarettes to become available on prescription in the future, to help people who are conscious of the effects of smoking to take the step gradually.
For more information and advice on quitting smoking, call 0800 022 4524 or visit acelifestyle.org/stop-smoking.