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Thousands in the county quit smoking

PUBLISHED: 11:28 29 September 2009 | UPDATED: 08:36 01 August 2010

MORE than 22,000 people in the county have quit smoking in the last decade after support from NHS Suffolk, figures reveal today.

Suffolk NHS Stop Smoking Services celebrates its ten-year anniversary this month and over that time, the number of people smoking in Suffolk has plummeted.

MORE than 22,000 people in the county have quit smoking in the last decade after support from NHS Suffolk, figures reveal today.

Suffolk NHS Stop Smoking Services celebrates its ten-year anniversary this month and over that time, the number of people smoking in Suffolk has plummeted.

Smoking prevalence among the general population has dropped from 26pc to below 17pc. In 2008/09, over 3,800 people quit smoking in Suffolk.

To celebrate the anniversary, there will be awards given to recognise the work being done by Stop Smoking Service advisors across the East of England region.

Among those nominated is Hilary Andrews, service manager for Suffolk NHS Stop Smoking Services. She founded the Ipswich-based service because she felt moved to create something which helped save lives. Since then she has worked tirelessly to encourage smokers to quit by running clinics, one-to-one support sessions and help groups.

Also thanks to her efforts, alongside campaigners across the country, patients can now pick up prescriptions without seeing a GP first.

She said: “The chance to set up a completely new service in such an important area really gripped me. It has been fascinating, motivating and very challenging. Stop smoking services are innovative and do not follow the standard mould for NHS services. “The main challenge is changing people's attitudes towards smoking and persuading people it is an issue that matters. Stop smoking services have had to be quite creative to find ways to overcome these barriers.

“I am proud of the hard work behind every one of our success stories in Suffolk. Every person that quits represents a victory for the individual and their family.”

She is soon due to start a new post with the Strategic Health Authority to help lead tobacco control efforts in East Anglia.

In Suffolk there are more than 100 locations where smokers can go for help and meet advisers to help them to quit. Statistics show that by using NHS Stop Smoking Services, people are four times more likely to quit.

NHS Colchester and Tendring Stop Smoking Services, established in 2003, has helped more than 13,000 people to quit.

Smoking is the main cause of preventable disease and premature death in the UK with more than 80,000 deaths each year due to smoking.

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