National No Tobacco Day takes place today 31st May and it is the perfect opportunity for smokers to leave their bad habit behind.
This is why doctors at Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are advising local residents on the best ways to stop smoking. There are plenty of treatments available from shops, pharmacies and on prescription to help you beat your addiction.
The most recently introduced treatment is e-cigarettes, which are electronic devices that deliver nicotine in vapour and are available in a number of flavours. The devices contain nicotine but are without the most harmful substances which are found in cigarettes, such as tar and carbon monoxide.
Research shows that e-cigarettes can help you stop smoking and, like all treatments, they are most effective if used with support from the NHS stop smoking service.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) provides you with a low level of nicotine, without the tar and carbon monoxide. It can help reduce withdrawal effects, such as cravings, which may occur when you stop smoking.
NRT is available in a number of forms, including skin patches, chewing gum, tablets and nasal and mouth spray. They are all available on prescription and can be purchased from pharmacies and shops.
Both varenicline and bupropion are readily available via prescription. Varenicline reduces nicotine cravings and blocks the effects of smoking. Bupropion, which was originally used to treat depression, has since been found to help people quit smoking.
Dr Stuart Berry, GP lead for respiratory conditions at both CCGs said:
“I often come across smokers who haven’t tried e-cigs because they are worried about their safety. E-cigs are now considered to be 95% safer than normal cigarettes. Or to put it another way , they carry only 1/20th of the risk of smoking normal cigarettes.
“The charity “Cancer UK” has a useful webpage about them . Google “e-cig + Cancer UK” to find it http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/smoking-and-cancer/e-cigarettes
“The NHS Choices website has some more information along with links to back up the 95% safer than cigarettes statement.
“The best case scenario is that people stop smoking all together – but if you don’t feel ready to quit smoking completely, try e-cigs instead of regular fags .
“The best treatment for you will depend on your personal preference but I would suggest speaking to your GP practice for advice on which one is most suitable. Your local NHS stop smoking service will also provide plenty of support.”
Individuals are encouraged to use their local NHS stop smoking service alongside their chosen treatment. The service provides plenty of support through an app, email, text or a face-to-face meeting.
Studies show that people are four times more likely to quit smoking with the combination of medicine and help and support from their local stop smoking service.
To find out more about the stop smoking service, for the Blackburn with Darwen area visit http://www.refreshbwd.com/health-topic/smoking for East Lancashire visit: https://www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/Stop-Smoking or call the Smokeline on 0800 84 84 84.