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Smokers urged: Don’t Be The 1

Posted by Admin - Fri 9th February 2018 8.59AM

Hundreds of thousands of smokers in Bury and Greater Manchester are massively under-estimating the risks of their addiction ending their life early, a new survey has found.

As the ‘Don’t Be The 1’ quit smoking campaign launches on TV and across social media, smokers in Bury and across Greater Manchester will be reminded that they face a one in two risk of being killed by their addiction - some in their early 40s.

In Bury, there were 1,792 hospital admissions due to smoking in the year 2015-16. The number of deaths attributable to smoking was 990 over the three years from 2014 to 2016.

The hard-hitting campaign, launched by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, highlights the devastating effects of addiction on Bury smokers and their families. However, it also reassures the region’s 393,000 smokers that there is plenty of support to help them quit, cutting the ‘one in two’ odds straight away.

Bury councillor Catherine Preston gave up smoking after seeing her mum close to death with respiratory failure caused by smoking.

She said: “My mum was on oxygen in hospital for 48 hours; it was described to me as like skiing downhill with a 30mph wind in your face. It was awful to see her like that.”

Catherine’s mum survived, but the experience made her question her own smoking: “My mum had to nearly die before she realised what smoking had done to her. It was the wake-up call she and I both needed.”

A music educator and flautist, Catherine started smoking at the age of 15. “A group of us were in an orchestra. One guy came in with some cigarettes. He looked cool, we thought, so when he gave us one we took it and that was that. You just smoked, it was the 1960s and no one told you not to.”

After the experience with her mum, Catherine – who is the council’s deputy cabinet member for health and wellbeing - decided to quit. She did it with help from the Smokefree app, and using nicotine patches to take the edge off her cravings.

Catherine adds: “It was awful. I would literally stand in the kitchen thinking about smoking; I would be walking round in circles. But the app helped, it told me that the cravings would get further and further apart and be fleeting, which they were, and then they subsided altogether.

“I gave myself lots of goals, and one was to run a half-marathon which I did five months after I quit. I also make sure that I treat myself with all the money I’m saving. The app told me I’d save £2,600 in a year and I’m definitely enjoying having it in my purse!”

Catheriner has just signed up for 2018 Simply Health Manchester Half Marathon and for the Bury 10k in September 2018.

Currently, 18% of Greater Manchester’s population are smokers, and the ambition is to reduce the average smoking rate from 18% to 13% by 2021.

A pre-campaign survey of Greater Manchester smokers found that many smokers had no idea of the odds they face if they continued to smoke long-term:

More than nine out of ten smokers (92%) underestimated the ‘one in two’ risk of dying of a smoking-related disease

61% of these estimated the risk of dying from smoking as one in ten or less

Nine out of ten found the true statistic of one in two worrying

85% of smokers say that loved ones worry about them smoking

82% of smokers wish they had never started

Only one in ten smokers said they don’t want to stop smoking.

Don’t Be The 1 is the first campaign of its kind to run in Greater Manchester and is a first step in the unprecedented ambition of the region’s leaders of ‘Making Smoking History’. The award-winning approach, first delivered across the North East, was developed using insight from people who smoke across the North of England. The campaign is being backed by ex-smokers and their families, many of whom have lost someone close through smoking or have come dangerously close themselves to being ‘the one’.

Sarah Price, Director of Population Health for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: "Smoking is highly addictive and much more harmful than most people think. These odds show just how important it is that people who smoke consider what they are risking.

“It might be tempting to think ‘this won’t happen to me’ but we are urging people to think about the impact their smoking could have on the people who love them.

"Quitting might not always be easy and there are more ways to quit than ever before. Quitting lowers your risk of dying early at any age, but the sooner you quit smoking completely the better.

In 2018, Greater Manchester’s residents will be asked to comment on how best to protect and improve the health of the region, by having their say on ‘Making Smoking History in Greater Manchester.

As part of wider plans for Greater Manchester and the vision of ending tobacco harm, there are numerous strategies in place to reduce the number of smokers in the region by a third, which is a massive 115,000 fewer smokers by 2021.

As part of the Making Smoking History movement, initiatives launched include an engagement and consultation with the public about Making Smoking History, as well as an e-cigarette pilot scheme being trialled via local housing associations in Salford and ‘Don’t Be The 1’.

For more information visit DontBeThe1.TV

You can also get help to quit smoking from the Bury Lifestyle Service: www.theburydirectory.co.uk/kb5/bury/directory/service.page?id=zvg3OWX6bvM


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