Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub is encouraging the people of Cumbernauld to back Scottish Government’s aim of having a tobacco-free generation by 2034 by taking 30 seconds to submit a positive smoke-free role model pledge.
The Positive Smoke-Free Role Models initiative is a partnership between NHS Lanarkshire, Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire and the wider voluntary sector in North Lanarkshire. It is designed to support members of the community, whether they smoke or not, to become positive smoke-free role models.
This activity seeks to contribute towards Health and Social Care North Lanarkshire’s vision of a smoke-free Lanarkshire. Citizens are being asked to support the venture by completing this short form to pledge what action they are going to take to become a positive smoke-free role model in their community.
You could, for example, pledge to stop smoking, to try a different method of stopping smoking to anything you’ve tried before, to support friends and relatives to stop smoking or even to highlight the importance of smoke-free policies within your workplace.
Other commitments you could make include to encourage children or grandchildren to make a positive decision not to smoke, to speak to children about the dangers of secondhand smoke or to not smoke in your house or car. Indeed, you might wish to pledge something completely different as your contribution.
By making a pledge, no matter how big or small, you will be playing your part in improving health, wellbeing and quality of life for people living in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and surrounding villages.
THE IMPACT OF SMOKING ON YOUR HEALTH AND HELP WITH QUITTING
Smoking in the UK
In a study funded by Cancer Research UK, it was found that fewer cigarettes have been smoked each year in the UK for the past nine years. The decline can be linked to more public awareness of the health risks associated with smoking, thanks to new laws on how tobacco products can be sold and advertised.
However, despite progress made smoking is still a significant factor in society, with 28% of men and 25% of women in Scotland being smokers. Smoking remains one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK, with more than 13,000 people in Scotland dying each year from tobacco use.
Smoking levels remains higher than desired across the Lanarkshire area, with instances of coronary heart disease and COPD a particular problem in the Cumbernauld area.
The Health Risks of Smoking
The significant health risks of smoking include increased risk many forms of cancer, most notably lung cancer of which smoking is the cause in 70% of cases. Those who smoke are also at a much higher risk of developing cancer in their mouth, throat, bladder and liver, among other parts of the body.
Smoking damages your heart and your blood circulation and also increases your risk of developing conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, dementia, peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels) and cerebrovascular disease (damaged arteries that supply blood to your brain).
Importantly, smoking doesn’t just affect the health of the smoker, it can also have the same negative effects on those breathing in the second-hand smoke. This is known as passive smoking, which is especially harmful for children as they have less well-developed airways, lungs and immune systems.
The Benefits of Stopping Smoking
If you smoke, quitting is the single most important step you can take to protect the health of your heart. Even if you’ve smoked for years, quitting will still reduce your risk of heart and circulatory diseases. It’s never too late to quit. You might notice benefits sooner than you think.
For example, did you know that 20 minutes after you quit smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal? And that after 2–3 days of stopping, your sense of smell and taste will improve? Equally, after 2–12 weeks of stopping smoking, exercise becomes easier and your breathing will improve, and after one year of quitting your risk of having a heart attack is half that of a smoker.
Advice and Guidance for Those Who Want to Stop Smoking
Before you begin your attempt to stop smoking, ask yourself, why do you want to quit? Is it for your own health? Or is it to protect a loved one from second-hand smoke? Use your answer as your motivation throughout your journey.
Before you think about going ‘cold turkey’, discuss the best method of quitting cigarettes for you with your GP. They will be able to provide you with information on various support groups, apps and medication if necessary.
As you will already know if you’ve tried to stop smoking before, quitting an addiction is no easy feat. Make sure that you focus on your wellbeing by doing activities that help you unwind. Listen to your favourite music or podcast, socialise with your friends, or reward yourself with a spa treatment when you hit a milestone.
Many smokers lapse in their attempts at quitting when they hit a trigger, for example, drinking alcohol and eating out. Try and find an alternative to distract your mind, such as chewing gum or texting a friend instead.
The early stages of stopping smoking are most difficult. Research has shown that if you can stop smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to stay smoke-free for good.
Getting Help with Quitting Smoking: You Don’t Need to Go It Alone
Those who use stop smoking aids and get face-to-face support from their local stop smoking services are up to four times more likely to quit successfully.
Quit Your Way Scotland, a free NHS national helpline for anyone trying to stop smoking, can be contacted by telephoning 0800 84 84 84 or via NHS inform. Lanarkshire Quit Your Way is also facilitating a valuable provision, with a telephone helpdesk open from Monday-Friday (9am to 6pm) on 01698 206376.
Further advice and information on smoking cessation can be gathered through visiting the Quit With Help website at www.quitwithhelp.co.uk.
Cornerstone House Centre is an active campaigner for a smoke-free Lanarkshire, with the organisation involved in promoting and supporting implementation of Lanarkshire Tobacco Control Strategy 2018-23.
The Tobacco Control Strategy looks to the future, with a focus on tackling inequalities and putting children’s health firmly at its centre. The vision is to create a society which is smoke-free and where adults are positive anti-tobacco role models, regardless of whether they smoke.