Borders smokers and dieters are offered help to quit for good

Borders’ 20,126 smokers are being urged to make 2011 the year they quit for good - and to take advantage of the wide range of NHS services to help make it happen.

Although 1,621 smokers in the Borders attempted to quit last year, around 18% of adults within the local population still smoke. However, with the festive season behind us, many Scots are now making plans to quit, according to the findings of a Scottish Government survey.

The survey shows that 29% of Scotland’s smokers plan to quit smoking as one of their New Year resolutions but 30% of those plan to go it alone without any support. Giving up smoking is one of the most common New Year resolutions but people are more likely to succeed if they get help, rather than going it alone. A marketing campaign, starting today, aims to make people aware of the support available and how to access it.

As the survey reveals, Nearly four in ten (38%) smokers have previously tried to quit smoking at New Year and failed. Of these, more than half have tried to quit using willpower alone. The campaign will tell smokers that they are far more likely to succeed by calling Smokeline for free on 0800 848484 to find the right quitting method that suits their lifestyle.

Thanks to a Scottish Government partnership with Scottish Slimmers, dieters will – for the first time - also be able to get stop smoking support at their weekly slimming classes.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: “Giving up smoking is the biggest single thing anyone can do to improve their health but you’re more likely to succeed if you get help, rather than relying on willpower alone.

“There’s a huge range of support available – from face-to-face or online to nicotine replacement therapy and group classes – and Smokeline can help you find the quit method that’s right for you.

“This year we have teamed up with Scottish Slimmers to help people quit at the same time as they’re shedding pounds. This is particularly relevant as many people fear they’ll actually put on weight if they give up smoking so might put off the decision to quit.

“However, with the right support dieters can give up too and get twice the benefit for their health. This partnership with Scottish Slimmers is another example of how many and varied ways there are to quit smoking.”

Alexandra Howie, marketing director, Scottish Slimmers, said: “New year is the ideal time to take a fresh look at your lifestyle and identify simple ways to improve your health such as giving up smoking or losing weight.

“However, we know from experience that many people try to go it alone and often find it difficult to stay motivated and focused. We’re confident that, with the combined support Scottish Slimmers and Smokeline, those looking to makeover their lives in the new year are more likely to receive to support and advice they need to be successful.”

As part of the campaign, a Scottish Government roadshow will tour Scotland to inform and advise smokers who want to quit. Visitors will be able to take lung ageing and carbon monoxide tests and also pick up quit calendars to support them through their quit attempts.

The roadshow will visit the Borders on January 25 at Tesco in Galashiels, from 9am to 5pm.

For further information on the various quit methods available, plus advice and support call Smokeline on 0800 848484 or visit www.canstopsmoking.com.