Improved life prospects, feeling healthier and fitter, and having more cash in their pockets – just some of the reasons smokers should stub out the cigs and loudly proclaim that they are “proud to be a quitter”.
That is the slogan for this year’s national No Smoking Day, on Wednesday 11 March, and Croydon is getting behind the event, organised by the British Heart Foundation, aiming to help smokers kick the habit for good with a range of promotions and events.
And, to help those keen to make No Smoking Day the day they start to stop, they can sign up for the free NHS One Day Quit tool until 10 March by visiting https://quitnow.smokefree.nhs.uk/onedayquit
The first day without cigarettes is often the hardest – the free One Day Quit tool will help quitters through the first 24 hours smoke-free.
Despite years of warnings and campaigns alerting to the dangers of smoking, almost a fifth of adults in Croydon have yet to quit – with the figure rising to almost one-third among the poorest communities.
Smoking is a major cause of heart disease and stroke, and one in five deaths from cardiovascular disease is smoking-related. It is the UK’s biggest killer.
No Smoking Day provides a national focus to help people take those first, often challenging, steps to quit the habit, while also motivating them to stop for life.
No Smoking Day events in Croydon will include:
• Ex-smokers parade – organised by the council’s stop-smoking service, Solutions 4 Health, starting at Bernard Weatherill House, in Mint Walk, and ending at the Whitgift Shopping Centre.
• Mobile quit-smoking clinic – outside Access Croydon, Mint Walk, all day.
• Face-art painting – a face painter at the Whitgift Shopping Centre on 14 March will attract families and encourage parents to learn more about how to kick the habit.
• Photo booth – available in the Whitgift Shopping Centre throughout March. Special photo frames for self-portraits to capture people’s participation in the event. Background banners for the pictures will say “I am walking on quit road” or “I am a proud quitter” to motivate the community to join the race to being smoke-free.
• Ex-smoker mentoring – available throughout March.
Helping people give up smoking is a major priority for the council since becoming a Heart Town in 2013. Heart Town is a five-year campaign by the council, in partnership with the British Heart Foundation, to tackle and raise awareness of heart disease.
Stoptober, the national mass quit-smoking attempt last October, saw more than 1,300 smokers in Croydon pledge to give up for 28 days.
“I think it’s fair to say that everybody realises that smoking is only a bad thing.
“Some say that it helps them to deal with stress, but research shows that lighting up doesn’t help stress; in fact, smokers are 70% more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than non-smokers.
“There is no safe level of smoking – each cigarette causes damage to the body, so quitting smoking could be key to improving not only your physical health, but your mental health, too.
“I’d urge all Croydon’s smokers to take advantage of the free support that’s available, not only on No Smoking Day, but all year round – and I want to hear more saying that they’re proud to be a quitter.”
Councillor Louisa Woodley, cabinet member people and communities
Croydon funds free services for local people who want to quit smoking.
• Go to the Healthy Living Hub in Central Library, Katharine Street, Croydon, to get one-on-one support. No appointment necessary. For details, go to www.croydon.gov.uk/healthy-living-hub
• Access specialist services at Croydon University Hospital. Call 020 8401 3000 ext: 5906 to find out more.
• Get support within the community from local pharmacies and GP practices. Call 0800 019 8570 to find one near you.