Health workers in South Tyneside are being urged to lead the way and stub out their habit as a stop smoking service is relaunched.
NHS staff in the borough are to be encouraged to give up once and for all as South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust bids to become a completely smokefree organisation.
Treating tobacco addiction is a vital element of building a healthier society for the future and NHS staff have a key role to play in creating the UK’s first smokefree generationDr Shaz Wahid
The service offers a support programme for NHS staff, as well as their friends and family, recognising the vital role loved ones can play.
They will have access to a full range of products, including patches and gum, and medications such as Champix and Zyban.
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust medical director Dr Shaz Wahid said: “Treating tobacco addiction is a vital element of building a healthier society for the future and NHS staff have a key role to play in creating the UK’s first smokefree generation.
“Many of our patients are in hospital because of smoking-related illness and, if they continue to smoke, it’s likely they will take longer to recover, with serious implications for their long-term health.
“Alongside our colleagues in Sunderland, we are fully committed to becoming a smokefree organisation in the interests of the health of our patients, staff and the local community.
“We are working closely with our local partners to get us to the point of becoming fully smokefree and, as part of this, we want to give our staff and patients all the tools and support we can to help them to stop smoking.
“Providing a stop smoking service for not only our staff, but their family and friends, is one way of helping to achieve our smokefree goal.”
Coun Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are delighted to support South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust in its commitment to becoming a smokefree organisation.
“Although smoking rates have decreased in the last five years, almost 400 people die in South Tyneside every year as a result of smoking.
“Quitting smoking is the single biggest thing people can do to improve their health so we would advise them to take advantage of the significant help and support on offer to help them treat their tobacco addiction.”
According to figures from pressure group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the estimated annual cost of smoking to the NHS in South Tyneside is about £7.1million.