Time to quit smoking?

The Western Isles’ 5,198 smokers are being urged to make 2011 the year they quit for good - and to take advantage of the wide range of NHS services to help make it happen.

Although 365 smokers in the Western Isles attempted to quit last year, around 20% of adults within the local population still smoke. However, with the festive season behind us, many Scots are now making plans to quit, according to the findings of a Scottish Government survey released Monday.

The survey shows that 29% of Scotland’s smokers plan to quit smoking as one of their New Year resolutions but 30% of those plan to go it alone without any support. Giving up smoking is one of the most common New Year resolutions but people are more likely to succeed if they get help, rather than going it alone. A marketing campaign, starting today, aims to make people aware of the support available and how to access it.

As the survey reveals, nearly four in ten (38%) smokers have previously tried to quit smoking at New Year and failed. Of these, more than half have tried to quit using willpower alone. The campaign will tell smokers that they are far more likely to succeed by calling Smokeline for free on 0800 848484 to find the right quitting method that suits their lifestyle.

Thanks to a Scottish Government partnership with Scottish Slimmers, dieters will – for the first time - also be able to get stop smoking support at their weekly slimming classes.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: “Giving up smoking is the biggest single thing anyone can do to improve their health but you’re more likely to succeed if you get help, rather than relying on willpower alone.

“There’s a huge range of support available – from face-to-face or online to nicotine replacement therapy and group classes – and Smokeline can help you find the quit method that’s right for you.

“This year we have teamed up with Scottish Slimmers to help people quit at the same time as they’re shedding pounds. This is particularly relevant as many people fear they’ll actually put on weight if they give up smoking so might put off the decision to quit.

“However, with the right support dieters can give up too and get twice the benefit for their health. This partnership with Scottish Slimmers is another example of how many and varied ways there are to quit smoking.”

As part of the campaign, a Scottish Government roadshow will tour Scotland to inform and advise smokers who want to quit. Visitors will be able to take lung ageing and carbon monoxide tests and also pick up quit calendars to support them through their quit attempts. The roadshow will visit the Western Isles on 17th January at Tesco on Ferry Road in Stronoway from 9am to 5pm.

For further information on the various quit methods available, plus advice and support call Smokeline on 0800 848484 or visit www.canstopsmoking.com