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We’ll help you find your route to quit

Health professionals in County Durham and Darlington are taking smoking advice and support on the road with the aim of helping local residents find their route to quit.

On Monday 8 August, an old fashioned London bus will arrive at Darlington Memorial Hospital and patients, visitors and staff will be invited on to the bus to access information, support and advice on giving up smoking. The bus will then travel to University Hospital of North Durham on Wednesday 10 August. 

Carol Dudley, Health Improvement Manager (Tobacco Control) for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "We hope that the big red bus will be a great way of attracting attention and raising awareness of our stop smoking service. We want to do more to help people who are still smoking as seven out of ten smokers say they want to quit. This is an addiction that kills one in two smokers. Smoking is our biggest killer, claiming the lives of over 5,500 people in the North East each year.

"Having the bus at the hospitals is also a great way for us to raise awareness about the importance of trying to give up smoking before you come into hospital. Smokers can reduce their risk of a wide range of post-operative complications by stopping smoking at least 8 weeks before planned surgery. People who smoke have a 1 in 3 risk of breathing and circulation problems after surgery compared to 1 in 10 for non-smokers. Stopping smoking at least 8 weeks before surgery also reduces wound healing time and can reduce the length of time patients need to stay in hospital after an operation.

"Specialist Stop Smoking Advisors will be on the bus to offer advice and support to anyone who is thinking about giving up, who is ready to give up, or who would just like more information. One of the main causes of people lapsing when they quit is not having the right support in the first place. Their best possible chance of success is through using the NHS Stop Smoking Service; smokers accessing the service are 4 times more likely to succeed in quitting. We offer friendly and non-judgemental help to smokers and tailor support to every person to give them their best possible chance of quitting."

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust Stop Smoking Service has helped over 40,000 people quit in the last 10 years. If you would like more information or if you are thinking about giving up smoking 'catch the bus' at Darlington Memorial Hospital on Monday 8 August between 9.30am and 4pm or on Wednesday 10 August at University Hospital of North Durham between 9.30am and 4pm. and you could soon be a successful quitter".

On Tuesday 9 August the bus will also be parked in Peterlee town centre in the open part of the shopping precinct (near the lift to Asda).  The bus will also visit Stanley market on Thursday 11 August and Chester le Street market on Friday 12 August. Each day a team of Specialist Stop Smoking Advisors will be available to give advice on stopping smoking and how to access stop-smoking support at local venues.

Key Facts

• Smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and related disease in the UK
• In England over 80,000 deaths a year (5,800 in the North East) are due to smoking compared to 8,500 due to alcohol.
• Half of all regular smokers will die as a result of their habit
• Smoking is the biggest single cause of inequalities in death rates between the rich and poor
• Impacts on health inequalities and ill health, particularly cancer, CHD, COPD.
• Smoking causes 1 in 5 of all deaths that occur in middle age
• Smokers on average lose 10 years of life.
• 70% of smokers want to quit

The health benefits of stopping smoking start almost immediately:

• 20 Minutes: Blood pressure and pulse return to normal. Circulation improves in hands and feet.
• 8 Hours: Oxygen levels in blood return to normal.
• 24 Hours: Carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body.
• 48 Hours: Nicotine is no longer detectable in the body.
• 72 Hours: Breathing becomes easier as bronchial tubes relax.
• 2 - 12 Weeks: Circulation improves throughout the body, making walking easier.
• 3- 9 Months: Overall lung function increased by 5 - 10 %.
• 5 Years: Risk of heart attack falls to half of that of a smoker.
• 10 Years: Risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker. Risk of heart attack falls to that of someone who has never smoked.

Published: 3 August 2011

'I have to compliment everyone on their pleasant persona and their expertise and knowledge. By the end of the 5 days, I did not feel as though I had been in a hospital ward and was very relaxed.'

Patient, Ward 16 Orthopaedics, University Hospital of North Durham