Thousands blighted by chronic smoking-related diseases

Residents who smoke are being warned about the risks of developing debilitating lung diseases if they do not kick the habit.

Smoking is the biggest preventable risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the umbrella term for serious lung conditions including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD can be seriously debilitating, causing breathing difficulties in many cases due to the narrowing of airways and destruction of lung tissue.

NHS Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group and Croydon Council are highlighting the latest GP figures that reveal the number of people diagnosed with COPD in Croydon reached 4,321 in 2014-151. Nationally, over one million people are living with the disease, which can be fatal.

Sadly, 396 COPD2 deaths were recorded in the borough between 2012 and 2014. The capital’s hospitals logged 13,620 routine and emergency admissions in 2013-143.

Ex-Olympic athlete and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Iwan Thomas is helping to put the spotlight on this relatively unknown disease. He speaks about his mother’s struggle with COPD in a new Public Health England video, available to watch here

Smoking also increases the risk of developing more than 50 health-related conditions, including cancers, and circulatory and heart disease. Anyone considering ditching the cigarettes for good in 2016 can get a range of support from Croydon’s stop-smoking services. Since last April, their experienced advisers have helped almost 3,000 residents to begin their quitting journey.

Others have drawn encouragement from the annual Stoptober quit campaign, which saw more than 1,200 people in the borough sign up last October for help to quit.

Stop-smoking advice will be offered on Wednesday 27 January between noon and 1.30pm by the London Ambulance Service and Solutions 4 Health advisers outside the Primark store, in North End, central Croydon.

Councillor Louisa Woodley, cabinet member for families, health and social care

“Our advice to smokers is not to gamble with their health.

“COPD is a progressive and debilitating disease affecting large numbers of people. Many sufferers are unable to easily participate in everyday activities such as climbing stairs, doing housework or gardening. Making the decision to stop smoking is the best thing they can do for their health and those around them.

“We know that giving up can be challenging, but January is one of the best times to start as part of your new year’s resolutions. There is help available on your doorstep with Croydon’s stop-smoking services. They have a great record of helping residents, and have a range of aids including apps, a quit kit and face-to-face advice at drop-in clinics, pharmacies and GP surgeries.”

Dr Agnelo Fernandes, a local GP and assistant clinical chair of NHS Croydon CCG, said typical symptoms of COPD include breathlessness when active, a persistent cough and frequent chest infections.

“COPD may not be well known, but it can be a serious and severely debilitating disease, dramatically affecting people’s lives and leading to years of suffering. Smokers can often dismiss early signs as a ‘smoker’s cough’, but if they continue smoking and the condition worsens, it can greatly impact on their quality of life.

“The single best thing a smoker can do to reduce their chances of developing this devastating disease is to stop smoking, and there are many services available to support people in Croydon who want to quit.”

For help to stop smoking, call Croydon’s stop-smoking service on 0800 019 8570. Search ‘Smokefree’ online or visit for a full range of free tools and support.


1 Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show 4,321 people in Croydon had a diagnosis of COPD in 2014/15.

2 Public Health England (PHE) local tobacco control profiles show that there 396 deaths from COPD in Croydon between 2012 and 2014.

3 PHE calculations of routine and emergency admissions for COPD, from Health and Social Care Information Centre, Hospital Episode Statistics, Admitted Patient Care, England – 2013-14.

2016-01-20T15:46:10+00:00 January 20th, 2016|Recent news|