Fewer smokers quitting ahead of ban

A BAN on smoking in public places may be deterring nicotine-lovers from quitting, it has been claimed.The ban is due to come into force next year in England and will mean almost all public places being a smoke-free zone.

By Annie Davidson

A BAN on smoking in public places may be deterring nicotine-lovers from quitting, it has been claimed.

The ban is due to come into force next year in England and will mean almost all public places being a smoke-free zone.

When the Government announced the plans - which have already been implemented in Ireland and Scotland - it argued a ban would encourage more smokers to quit.


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But the Colchester and Tendring NHS Stop Smoking Support Service has claimed the future ban has had the opposite effect.

Service manager Sue White said she believed that many smokers who wanted to quit would not make an attempt until just before legislation is implemented, in May 2007 at the earliest.

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She said: “There are about 45,000 smokers in Colchester, which is 26% of the population, and we believe that about 70% of them would like to give up - but they need a motive.

“That is why we are traditionally busiest in January, February and March because many people make quitting a new year's resolution or choose National No Smoking Day in March to begin their attempt.

“I suspect many people are waiting until, as widely expected, a ban on smoking in enclosed spaces is introduced next summer which is disappointing because the health benefits of stopping - not to mention the financial ones - begin immediately after your final cigarette.”

The service has seen a dramatic drop in people trying to quit, with 80 fewer people in April, May and June giving up then in the same period last year.

Only 130 people used the service compared to 210 last year and 173 in 2004.

Mrs White added that the lack of a national Department of Health stop smoking campaign in recent months may also have contributed to the fall in the number of smokers seeking help.

She encouraged smokers to find out more details about the help available by contacting Colchester and Tendring NHS Stop Smoking Support Service.

Support clinics are held all over Colchester and help is available during evenings and on Saturdays and Sundays for people who work during the week.

The service is free but smokers must pay a prescription charge if they need Nicotine Replacement Therapy.

Two weeks worth of patches cost £6.65 compared to about £30 if bought on the high street.

In 2005-06, Colchester and Tendring NHS Stop Smoking Support Service helped 1,087 Colchester residents to stop smoking.

It can be contacted free on 0800 7312656.

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