Cumbria County Council is encouraging smokers in the county to contact their local pharmacy to access free support to quit, as a new Public Health England campaign reveals that 45 people a day die of cardiovascular disease (CVD) caused by smoking – over 16,500 deaths a year in England.
CVD includes all diseases of the heart and circulatory system – including heart attacks and strokes. The disease is one of the main causes of death and disability in the UK and quitting has been identified as the single best thing a smoker can do to protect their heart.
CVD is usually associated with the build up of fatty deposits clogging up the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, that can block the flow of blood to vital organs and eventually cause fatal heart attacks and strokes. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease by almost a quarter (24%) and doubles the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Colin Cox, Director of Public Health at Cumbria County Council said: “If you currently smoke, quitting is the single best thing you can do for your health, and with all the free support available locally, there has never been a better time to take the next step on your quitting journey.
“Research shows that two thirds of smokers want to quit and our local services can help you to achieve this. Our friendly service offers free support and advice all year round to help you lead a healthier life. It doesn’t matter if you have tried before and it didn’t quite work out, you can access support as many times as you need.
“Don’t go through your quit journey alone. Join together with friends, family and colleagues to support each other through your quit attempt.”
Smoking prevalence in Cumbria is currently 15.6%, with 2,776 deaths attributable to smoking between 2012 and 2014.
There is free advice and support available to help people to become #SmokeFree. You can access your stop smoking service at your local pharmacy.
The latest hard hitting campaign from Public Health England coincides with the first year when all cigarettes sold in the UK will be in standard packs, with all attractive branding removed. The packs, which will be mandatory from May, feature graphic pictures and health warnings, several of which illustrate how smoking causes CVD and death.
Andrea Crossfield, Chief Executive of North West social enterprise Healthier Futures said: “New Year is a great opportunity to make a change and stop smoking for good. Quitting this January will immediately result in better health, including an improved sense of smell, taste and more energy. Longer term, ex-smokers reduce their risk of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer, as well as protecting others from secondhand smoke.
“You are four times more likely to successfully stop with the help of your local stop smoking service which can offer you free support and advice. If you are thinking of making a change don’t delay, contact your local service and make 2017 the year that you make a change and put your health first.”
The call comes as Public Health England release an emotive short film working with primary school children in Coventry, to create their own heartfelt messages about the dangers of smoking. The messages, inspired by the introduction of standard unbranded packaging, focus on the damage smoking does to the heart and circulatory system.