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Bexley Stop Smoking trying to stub out the habit

PUBLISHED: 11:53 18 October 2012

Bexleyheath Stop Smoking manager Jo Woodvine

Bexleyheath Stop Smoking manager Jo Woodvine

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The message to smokers is clear - if you do one thing this month, put that cigarette away. ''Stoptober'' is trying to drive this home and Bexley's award-winning ''Smokefree'' team has been pushing the word out as much as anyone.

Bexleyheath Stop Smokingbus l to r: Steve Cain and Stop Smoking advisor Louise SamuelBexleyheath Stop Smokingbus l to r: Steve Cain and Stop Smoking advisor Louise Samuel

The borough’s quit rate is the highest in south-east London.

Jo Woodvine, head of Bexley Stop Smoking, said: “Giving up smoking is the best thing anyone can do to improve their health.

“We are using Stoptober to encourage smokers to set a quit date and start recovering from the effects of long-term smoking.

“It’s not just your health that will improve, you will look and smell so much better.”

Throughout October the Mobile Quit Bus has been putting in extra hours travelling around the borough giving professional support and advice.

It has been targeting the council (the biggest employer in the borough) and has visited the offices in Bexleyheath and Welling alongside the regular gigs in Bexleyheath every Saturday and Erith every Wednesday morning.

Smokers have also been able to get a free lung age test and a Stoptober pack, which includes a stress ball, a calendar charting your progress and a wheel showing how much your health and finances will improve depending on how much you smoke over different time periods.

Miss Woodvine said: “Tobacco is the only legally available product that kills people if used as intended. Someone who smokes 20 cigarettes a day can spend over £50 a week to give themselves a chance of developing a long-term illness.”

Bexley Smokefree has received a number of glowing testimonials. Barry O’Connor decided to give up with his wife Sally. He said: “I don’t miss it now although I’d been smoking for 20 years. I’ve got more energy and feel great. Everyone at the service is very friendly and the stop smoking advisers know what they’re talking about.”

Matt Scott, of Bexley, said on Twitter: “I gave up six years ago this month. I still remember the last one.”

The service has won three awards to recognise its work for more than a decade. A Health and Social Care gong for the best managed service in London, an award from Non Smoking Day for work taken to promote the event and a Health Service Journal award presented by the then-health secretary to recognise their partnership working with GPs.

Miss Woodvine said: “The key to this is that people don’t think this is a gimmick and don’t start smoking again in November.

“Correct stop smoking advice from one of Bexley’s fully-trained advisors during the early weeks of quitting will give you the best chance of making smoking the ‘ex-factor’ in your life.”

Fore help in quitting call 0800 793 2514 or visit www.smokefreebexley.co.uk.

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