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Dozens of people have given up smoking in the last year with the help of the Smokefree Champions from ²gether NHS Foundation Trust.

The champions will be redoubling their efforts to help people quit for No Smoking Day, which is on Wednesday (March 13).

Manning stands within waiting areas at Wotton Lawn, in Gloucester, and Charlton Lane Hospital, in Cheltenham, they hope to encourage even more people to give up.

There are currently more than 60 staff working in wards and units across Gloucestershire and Herefordshire who are trained Smokefree Champions in addition to their day job.

One such staff member is Shelley Jones, Ward Manager at the Honeybourne Unit, in Cheltenham.

Shelley, an ex-smoker herself, is currently helping three people within the unit to give up.

She said: “We carry out our initial assessment when people come into the unit and during that we find out whether they smoke or not, and talk to them about the benefits of giving up.

“If they are keen to give it a try we support them with meetings at least once a week and organise nicotine replacement therapy.

“People experiencing mental illness are more likely than the general population to take up smoking and do sometimes need more help to quit.

“However, once they see the benefits and see others around them giving up as well, it can really help motivate them and quitting can feel like a real achievement.

“Once people are ready to leave the unit we make sure they get access to the Quit Smoking clinics so they can stay off the cigarettes when they leave us.”

The unit has a CO (Carbon Monoxide) machine which enables staff to show service users the impact that giving up smoking is having on their overall health.

A 29-year-old man currently staying on the unit, who does not wish to be named, found his CO level decreased from 37 to 1 within a couple of days of quitting.

A smoker since the age of 13, and on 30 to 40 a day, he’s seen huge benefits since giving up with the help of staff, nicotine patches and nicotine mist.

He said: “I thought smoking looked cool when I was younger and my mum and dad also smoked, but from speaking to the staff here I’ve found that, although it’s still hard, I don’t mind giving up so much.

“I used to trick myself that smoking was good for me because it reduced stress, but now I’ve turned that around so I see smoking is not good for you. I’ve come up with logical reasons and seen what the chemicals do to you, which has helped me give up.

“I’m proud I’ve been able to give up and my family are really proud too. They’ve all given up as well, including my ex-girlfriend, and I’ve found it’s just as good socially to be an ex smoker as it is to be a smoker.”

Marley, 18, is another service user at Honeybourne. He’s also been smoking since his early teens and decided to give his 10 to 20 cigarettes a day up to become more healthy.

He said: “It’s also about the cost. Since giving up I can start saving for more Xbox games and I’m finding it easier at the gym as my breathing is easier.

“The adverts on the TV have been really off putting for me and I’m really proud of giving up. I’m setting an example to other people who smoke now, which is really good.”

If you are keen to give up smoking, visit the Gloucestershire Stop Smoking Service at http://www.stopsmokingsupportglos.org.uk/ or the Herefordshire Service at
http://www.herefordshire.nhs.uk/1366.aspx.

 

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