Smokers in Walsall are being urged quit this ‘No Smoking Day’ – Wednesday 8 March 2023 – as research shows those who smoke are more likely to develop dementia.
The annual awareness day encourages smokers to make a quit attempt and this year’s theme is ‘stopping smoking protects your brain health’.
Evidence shows smoking raises the risk of developing dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, as it harms the vascular system (heart and blood vessels) and the brain.
Data collected in 2021 showed 14 per cent of adults in Walsall are smokers, however, Walsall Healthcare’s NHS Trust aims to reduce this even further. Its in-house QUIT programme aims to support inpatients who smoke to make lasting changes.
The programme, which launched in December 2022, aims to help all inpatients who smoke to abstain from smoking in the long term.
This includes onward referral to a participating community pharmacy. If the patient chooses onward referral, they will receive up to 12 weeks of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), and support from the community pharmacy, fully funded by the NHS.
Alison Yates, Tobacco Dependency Advisor at Walsall Healthcare, said: “Together with my fellow advisor Annie Hammond, we visit patients on the wards and speak to them about their smoking habits.
“This is so we can advise them on the different NRT products available and help them to choose the best options for them. The care is tailored to each individual person.
“We find our work very rewarding and look forward to further developing the service.”
So far, the team’s quit rate – measured as 28 days smoke free – is currently 57.25 per cent, compared to an England average of 36 per cent.
The Trust is also pleased to offer similar support through its Stop Smoking in Pregnancy Service.
Carol Shepherd, Specialist Stop Smoking Advisor at Walsall Healthcare (pictured left), said: “Any actions mums-to-be can take before baby arrives will help protect the baby and hopefully avoid health complications such as asthma or bronchitis. No-one wants this for their new-born.”
The service, based at Bentley Health Centre, can be contacted on 01922 270477.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, who is helping to co-ordinate this year’s No Smoking Day, added: “Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to improve your health.
“It’s been shown to reduce the risk of developing dementia, heart disease, cancer and stroke. You experience health benefits within weeks of stopping, breathing easier and feeling fitter.
“No Smoking Day is the perfect time to quit smoking when thousands of other people are stopping too. Smokers are three times more likely to succeed in quitting with help from a trained professional than with willpower alone.”
Visit www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/ for free access to the latest quitting aids, apps, information, one-to-one advice, and local support.