Thousands of smokers in Tameside and across Greater Manchester are massively under-estimating the risks of their addiction ending their life early, a shocking new survey has found.
As the ‘Don’t Be The 1’ quit smoking campaign launches on TV and across social media today/this week, smokers in Tameside will be reminded that they face a one in two risk of being killed by their addiction - some in their early 40s.
The hard-hitting campaign, launched by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, starkly highlights the devastating effects of addiction on Tameside smokers and their families. However, it also reassures the Borough’s 38,000 smokers that there is plenty of support to help them quit, cutting the one in two odds straight away.
The Tameside Tobacco Alliance is supporting the campaign as the borough has the highest smoking rate in Greater Manchester and the second highest in the North West. As smoking is the single greatest cause of premature death and disease in our communities, Tameside families are suffering disproportionately with the impact of this addiction.
Former smoker Christine Turner from Hattersley is living with horrific breathing difficulties (COPD) caused by her 48 year smoking addiction. Christine says that living with COPD makes everything very tiring, and “breathing so erratically takes up all of your energy.”
A couple of years ago Christine, 59, ended up in hospital with pneumonia which was a turning point and motivated her to give up smoking. She quit with the help of Be Well Tameside who she can’t thank enough.
Before giving up Christine said she could barely walk from one room to another: “When I laid down I couldn’t breathe. I was coughing all the time and I could barely have a two-minute conversation. All this from smoking."
Christine used to have an oxygen nurse from the long-term conditions team: “When I spoke to her recently she told me I was so bad before that they were expecting bad news at some point. She said the improvement in my condition since I've given up smoking is incredible, within a month the terrible rattle in my chest disappeared altogether."
Christine added: “Giving up has made me feel better all round, and my breathing is much better than what it was. While I still have off days I can get out of the house more, and do the things I enjoy like walking my dogs.”
In Tameside, a radio advert will also aim to reach smokers with a hard-hitting but supportive message. This will be complemented by campaign adverts in buses and at some bus shelters.
Councillor Cooney, the Executive Member responsible for Health Tameside Council said “We are working to make smoking history for children and towards a smokefree Tameside. I urge any smokers wishing to quit to seek support and go smokefree.”
Lobna Begum-Haris is the Specialist Stop Smoking Lead from Be Well Tameside, part of Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust. Lobna said: “Be Well Tameside is a free NHS service that gives individual, non-judgemental support to smokers who want to quit. Advice can be given on the different options of stop smoking aids, including e-cigarettes, and smokers are up to four times more likely to be successful when receiving support and advice. People can self-refer by calling Be Well Tameside on 0161 716 2000”.
A pre-campaign survey of Greater Manchester smokers* found that many smokers
had no idea of the shallow odds they face if they continued to smoke long-term:
Don’t Be The 1 is the first campaign of its kind to run in Greater Manchester and is a powerful first step in the unprecedented ambition of the region’s system leaders of ‘Making Smoking History’. The award-winning approach, first delivered across the North East, was developed using insight from people who smoke across the North of England.
The campaign is being backed by ex-smokers and their families, many of whom have lost someone close through smoking or have come dangerously close themselves to being ‘the one’.
Sarah Price, Director of Population Health for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: "Smoking is highly-addictive and much more harmful than most people think. These odds show just how important it is that people who smoke consider what they are risking.
“It might be tempting to think ‘this won’t happen to me’ but we are urging people to think about the impact their smoking could have on the people who love them.
"Quitting might not always be easy and there are more ways to quit than ever before. Quitting lowers your risk of dying early at any age, but the sooner you quit smoking completely the better.”
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