created by Hartlepool Borough Council published on 06 June 2019

A major new initiative has been launched in Hartlepool to help more people stop smoking.

Hartlepool Borough Council is working with a range of other agencies to operate a community-based model for the provision of stop smoking support services to ensure that smokers wanting to give up receive help tailored to their particular needs and circumstances.

Partners include Primary Care, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, the voluntary sector, local pharmacies, local e-cigarette/vaping businesses and employers - all of which agree that supporting people to stop smoking is a shared priority.

The new way of working involves building expertise and capacity in the community by creating a wide pool of trained staff, including school nurses, health visitors, family support workers and Community Connectors based in the Council's community hubs in north, centre and south of the town.

It's launch coincides with the new "16 Cancers" campaign being run by the NHS North of England Cancer Alliances which aims to highlight some of the cancers that can be caused by smoking and the immediate and long-term consequences they can have on a person's life and their family.

The need for a new approach in Hartlepool is highlighted by statistics showing there has been an average decline of 40% in the number of people accessing local specialist smoking cessation services since 2014/15 - even though there are still more than 14,000 smokers in the town.

Councillor Shane Moore, the Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council and Chair of the Hartlepool Health and Wellbeing Board, said: "Smoking is one of the biggest causes of ill health and premature death, so any initiative that supports people to give up and improve their quality of life is to be welcomed.

"The community-based model of working requires effective multi-agency co-operation and we look forward to working closely with a range of partners to make it a success."

The new approach is based on the most up-to-date research which acknowledges that combining brief intervention with the use of e-cigarettes is the most successful way to help someone stop smoking.

A recent Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and Cancer Research UK report concluded that the landscape for tabacco control and smoking cessation services has changed, while Public Health England says that combining e-cigarettes with face-to-face support should be the preferred option available to all smokers.  It also calls for stop smoking practitioners and support staff to receive education and training in the use of e-cigarettes in quit attempts.

As part of the new approach in Hartlepool, on-line training from the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) is to be offered to all community-based staff.

A Hartlepool Borough Council leaflet providing more information about stop smoking support in Hartlepool, including a list of e-cigarette retailers and stop smoking websites and apps can be accessed by clicking the link below.

Last year, Mrs S from Hartlepool stopped smoking at the age of 73!  Read her story on the Hartlepool People section.

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