Sheffield City Council is piloting an innovative stop smoking programme to help its staff quit this Stoptober. The programme involves free access to the most popular stop smoking app, Smoke Free (normally £60), alongside a 4-week structured quit plan which includes one-to-one support from a stop smoking advisor virtually.
Smoking rates in Sheffield have been steadily declining since 2011, thanks to the city’s pioneering tobacco control programme and this latest initiative to support staff to quit follows the move in 2018 which made all council premises smoke free sites. Continuing with their commitment to the health and wellbeing of their staff, the council has now made the investment for 250 people to take part and will be open to all SCC staff.
Smokers are three times more likely to quit with use of a combination of specialist behavioural support and stop smoking medicines, however, it is known from local and national data that a larger proportion of people try to quit alone which is the least effective way to quit. This new initiative enhances the local stop smoking service offer and ensures council staff have access to further evidenced-based quit support, that gives up to date information on how they are gaining from quitting as well as quick access to support in their pocket via their phone, access to an online community of quitters and expert-led group discussions which people can take part in or watch. People can access both the stop smoking service and medications, as well as use the App to give them the best chance of success.
“Sheffield City Council is committed to leading by example in order to achieve our ambition for a smokefree generation by 2025. Two years on from going smokefree across all our sites we have made great progress in reducing smoking on site, with a 30% reduction in smoking observed across our sites. We hope that this latest initiative will give more staff the support they need to quit.”
– Greg Fell, Director of Public Health in Sheffield.
The programme will launch in time for Public Health England’s annual Stoptober initiative, which aims to encourage the nation’s smokers to make a quit attempt together during the month of October. Smoking damages the lungs and airways and harms the immune system, leaving us more vulnerable to infections, such as flu or COVID-19. Smokers generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections and experiencing more severe symptoms. Stopping smoking brings immediate benefits to health, including for people with an existing smoking-related disease and puts you in a better position to fight the virus should you contract COVID-19 or flu.
Smokers across the city will be encouraged to set a quit date this Stoptober, with Smokefree Sheffield offering advice and support throughout the month. Free support to quit is available to everyone in the city.
“Around 16 people die each week from a smoking-related illness in our city. It’s more important than ever to take care of your health and quitting smoking is one of the best ways to do this. If smoking rates fell by just 1% nationally, over 3,000 lives could be saved. Stoptober is a great time to make your annual quit attempt. Evidence shows that if you can quit for 28 days, you’re five times more likely to quit for good. There is lots of support available to anyone who wants it, so why not give it a go.”
– Cllr Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Parks & Culture.
For advice and support to quit smoking this October and beyond click here.