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Summer issue 2010

Smokefree South West is celebrating its first year of successfully driving for stronger action to tackle tobacco use and control across the South West. Over the last 12 months the organisation has been vigorously progressing this agenda, and this edition of the Bulletin highlights progress and some of the developments and achievements over the last year.

Special Edition Smokefree South West one year on

Running campaigns and coordinated programmes, Smokefree South West’s aims are to prevent young people from taking up the habit of smoking; help support local NHS Stop Smoking Services to encourage more smokers to stop; and to protect people from tobaccorelated harm.

closely with Bristol and Cardiff Universities to fast track regional access to the ASSIST schools-based peer support programme.

Commissioned collectively by the 14 Primary Care Trusts in the region and the Department of Health South West, Smokefree South West covers an area stretching from the tip of Cornwall to Gloucestershire, then out towards Swindon, Bournemouth and Poole.

Supporting services to smash smoking quit goal

The South West’s regional population is around 5.1 million and of those an estimated 900,000 are smokers – that’s about 21 per cent of people aged 16 and over. Around 9,000 premature deaths are caused each year from smoking in the region and Smokefree South West is at the forefront of the battle to cut this toll and reinforce tobacco control by supporting the effective implementation of national policy and legislation to de-normalise tobacco in our communities. Smokefree South West’s Director, Fiona Andrews is delighted with the team’s progress so far. “It has been a challenging but successful year. We have been working with the local NHS to stimulate increased referrals from a broader range of healthcare professionals such as pharmacists and GP’s. In 2008/2009 over 32,000 people in the South West quit smoking with the NHS stop smoking service. We are also keenly interested in enabling access to evidence-based ways of reducing uptake of smoking by children, and we have been working

In addition, huge efforts have gone into campaigns and communications with two very successful multi-media campaigns being launched back in the Autumn and repeated in February and March 2010. Evaluation showed both campaigns to be very effective at changing people’s behaviour and directing smokers towards the services.

Over 32,000 people in the South West quit smoking in 2008/2009 with the help of the NHS Stop Smoking Service, possibly saving thousands of lives from illnesses such as lung cancer and heart disease. All 14 Primary Care Trusts across the region exceeded all expectations as the results revealed that 32,347 South West smokers successfully quit exceeding the forecast mark by over 1000 people. The positive figures follow-on from the successful launch of Smokefree South West earlier in 2009, who in September 2008 before it’s official launch broadcast the ‘Around the Corner’ multi-media campaign to support services to hit targets. Dr Gabriel Scally, Regional Director of Public Health for the South West, said: “These new figures are a tremendous tribute to the work of Smokefree South West and all the NHS Stop Smoking Service advisers in the region who work so hard to help people to quit smoking. “Eliminating death and disease caused by tobacco, and reducing the numbers of people who smoke is a key priority for the NHS in the South West and I look forward to seeing positive results for this year when the figures are published in the autumn.”

From right: Jonathan Chetland, NHS Somerset; Kate Knight, Smokefree South West; Sally Ecroyd, NHS Devon; Lesley Thomas, NHS Devon, Gemma Brierley, NHS Devon; Fay Berry, NHS Devon; Melissa Cullum, Smokefree South West.

Supporting NHS Stop Smoking Services to help more people quit in hospital and other settings Offering advice to patients about stopping smoking is the single most cost-effective preventive action that a healthcare practitioner can undertake, and it doubles the likelihood of a patient successfully quitting. This is why Smokefree South West has been organising a series of training events to support the roll out of the Secondary Care Interventions Programme across the region to help encourage more smokers to quit during their visit to hospital. Andrea Dickens, Head of Policy and Development at Smokefree South West said: “The new approach was developed to ensure that healthcare professionals offer patients basic advice on stopping smoking routinely and systematically as part of their everyday role.

“Over the last nine months, Smokefree South West has been overseeing and supporting Trusts to roll out the programme internally by running workshops and events on the national toolkit and local implementation. 13 out of 14 Trusts are now involved in the multistranded approach. Plymouth NHS Stop Smoking Service was one of the first Trusts to introduce the Secondary Care Programme. Service Manager, Russ Moody, said: “We welcomed the Secondary Care Programme with open arms. The demand has been huge and it’s growing to become one of the strongest parts of our service. “We have a captive audience in the right place to seriously think about their future health. It’s a golden opportunity to take that first step.” Secondary care also provides an ideal environment to promote the opportunity to significantly reduce the risk smoking and secondhand smoke exposure pose to the

health of the wider population by installing clear professional signposting across NHS buildings.

In the South West it’s only around 7 per cent and Smokefree South West is trying to fix that.

The Smokefree South West marketing team are doing just that by trailing new promotional material at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust where large banners are placed around the hospital in high profile locations, and pop up stands are placed inside the buildings.

“Pharmacies are an important target partly because men, young people, routine and manual workers tend to visit their GP’s less. Somerset NHS Stop Smoking Service Manager, Laura Ridout, said: “We have four trained advisers working in pharmacies at Asda supermarkets in Yeovil and Taunton.

Messaging points smokers in the right direction to get effective help to quit.

“This is an important project to be taken forward because when people come out of hospital they may revert to smoking if they run out of nicotine replacement therapy. Pharmacies can fast-track medication overthe-counter and have the advantage of being easily accessible in communities.”

Jonathan Sheffield, Medical Director at University Hospitals Bristol said: “We already know how harmful smoking is to our health and that stopping smoking can reduce the risk of getting a wide variety of illnesses. “However, we also know that it isn’t easy to stop smoking. “That is why University Hospitals Bristol is pleased to be working with Smokefree South West to help increase awareness of the free support available to people who want to give up.” Smokefree South West will be rolling this work out in other Trust’s over the year to come. As well as the Secondary Care Programme, Smokefree South West is also focusing on pharmacies and primary care. Andrea said: “Nationally around 17 per cent of people who quit do so through a pharmacy.

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An example of a banner placed on hospital buildings.

Successful and cost effective campaigns and communicationsns Since its launch in 2009 Smokefree South West has run highly successful and costeffective multi-media campaigns to raise awareness and encourage behaviour change among smokers and to generate leads for the NHS Stop Smoking Service. Through purchasing media advertising on behalf of the whole region, Smokefree South West secures up to 40% discounts. This regional approach also ensures consistency of message across the entire South West. So if a smoker lives in Gloucestershire but visits Cornwall at the weekend, they will be seeing the same billboards, TV and press

advertising as they do at home, reinforcing our communications for greater impact. In October Smokefree South West launched a campaign to raise awareness of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke and encourage parents to stop, think and take their cigarettes outside. The campaign was called ‘If you smoke, I smoke’. Kate Knight, Head of Social Marketing and Communications said: “We are the only region to have run a TV and media campaign like this. Secondhand smoke is still a threat to children’s health and we need to encourage smokers to change their behaviour and protect their children from the health risks.” Results from the campaign were very encouraging and showed that 47 per cent of adults with children at home claimed to have changed their behaviour as a direct result of the campaign and 10 per cent of the 47 per cent said they’d stopped smoking in their home completely. In response to a Smokefree South West survey question asking if the dangers of secondhand smoke are greatly exaggerated, the number of supporters of this statement dropped from 42 per cent pre campaign to 32 per cent post campaign showing that more people are now aware of the reality of the risk. This campaign was repeated in quarter four of the financial year. The Smokefree South West Marketing team have also put huge efforts into boosting the volume of PR coverage over the last 12 months across the region. An estimated £160,000 of editorial coverage was gained since October 2009 in local press, radio, online and TV.

A still from Smokefree South West’s ‘If you smoke, I smoke’ TV advert.

1,200 less heart attacks in one year after smokefree laws New research published in June showed there were 1,200 fewer emergency heart attack hospital admissions in the 12 months following the introduction of smoke-free laws in England. Smokefree South West Director, Fiona Andrews, said: “This important research shows that real progress is being made in improving people’s health by encouraging them to quit smoking. “Since the legislation was introduced in 2007, public awareness of the dangers of smoking and the health, social and financial benefits of quitting have increased. “Smokefree South West and others working in tobacco control will continue to work hard to push further legislation through so that children, communities and all non-smokers can be free from tobacco-related harm in the future.” The research was led by Dr Anna Gilmore of the University of Bath, using data collected on emergency hospital admissions for patients aged 18 or older from July 2002 to September 2008 and comparing the records for the five years before the introduction of smoke-free laws to the period after legislation came into force.

Year 8 pupils help each other choose a smokefree future Popular and influential teenagers could be the most effective weapon in stopping young people from starting to smoke - thanks to an innovative new schools programme developed by Bristol and Cardiff Universities. The Assist Programme is a schoolsbased, peer-led intervention, designed to reduce smoking uptake in adolescence by encouraging new norms of smoking behaviour. The programme is secondary school-based and conducted with students in Year 8 - the time at which smoking uptake in young people begins to accelerate. In the South West, 34 per cent of young people aged between 16 and 25 smoke which is one of the highest rates in the UK and equivalent to an estimated 45 taking up the habit daily. Smokefree South West Assist Programme Co-ordinator, Lucy Crystal, said: “Until the Assist Programme was developed, there was limited evidence to suggest what would be effective in reducing the numbers of young people taking up smoking.” The Assist Programme is now set to be rolled out to thousands of pupils in the region, with the South West being the first in England to do this. Lucy explains: “The idea is to get a real mix of pupils to become peer supporters. They are all students that classmates already look up to so the messages are more likely to pass across many friendship groups.”

Those who complete the training are encouraged to pass on these messages to classmates in an informal way both in and out of the school grounds. The pupils thoroughly enjoy the training and one who completed the training said: “It was fun and I know now that we shouldn’t smoke”. Another added: “I was intrigued finding out all the smoking facts and figures”. The peer supporters are also trained in the best way to approach and engage in conversation with classmates and how to overcome possible barriers. One said: “It was quite hard going up to people but the response was positive”. Lucy Crystal added: “The Assist Programme is excellent because it only takes a small number of people to spread the word. The programme works with pupils with influence because their message can be much more powerful in these situations than if it was given by adults.”

Driving down illicit tobacco in the region The South West is driving forward action to ‘turn off the tap’ and reduce the number of young people taking up smoking in the region by making tobacco less affordable. There are a number of ways to do this and in the South West efforts have gone into tackling the issue of illicit tobacco. Over the last 12 months, Smokefree South West has developed multi-agency links and is working with a broad range of partners to help gather intelligence on the scale of the problem, and devise effective methods to tackle illicit tobacco.

“...Secondhand smoke is still a threat to children’s health smokers to change their behaviour and protect their childr

Smokefree South West Director, Fiona Andrews, said: “Over the last year, Smokefree South West and our stakeholders have been doing the fundamental ground work to get networks and partnerships up and running so that we can really drive this agenda forward with the vigour it deserves. We are dedicated to making a real difference and reduce easy access to cheap, illegal supplies of tobacco, which often provides an entry point for our young people to experiment and take up smoking.”

Mums supported to stop smoking as part of new project Smokefree South West in partnership with Torbay Care Trust and NHS Somerset, are leading the way in introducing innovative care for pregnant women and new mothers in a pioneering trial to help them quit. The demonstration sites offer intensive support from specially trained NHS stop smoking advisers along with a voucher scheme for remaining smokefree. Stewart Brock, NHS Stop Smoking Service Manager at NHS Somerset said: “There is evidence that long-term support is vital. Women often give up while pregnant but once they have the baby they may start again which is why the project provides ongoing support after the baby is born.” Pregnant smokers are offered the opportunity to sign up for the initiative when they first visit their midwife. They are then given appropriate pharmacotherapy combined with specialist support and a series of vouchers while maintaining a smokefree status validated using a CO monitor.

and we need to encourage ren from the health risks.”

There is substantial evidence to demonstrate the cost benefits of supporting pregnant women and new mums to be smokefree, as smoking in pregnancy has been linked to premature birth, miscarriage, low birth weight and increased infant mortality.

Smokefree South West and University of Bath offer pioneering tobacco control module The University of Bath launched a highly regarded Tobacco Control module in 2009 – developed with support from Smokefree South West. The four-day course is so successful and demand is so high that two other regions have followed suit and requested that a similar module be offered further north. Taught by leading academics, policy leads and practitioners in the field of tobacco control, the interactive course emphasises an evidencebased approach and key developments in the tobacco industry. It is designed for professionals working in public health and health promotion.

Hazel Millar, Head of Health Improvement at NHS Gloucestershire attended the course this April and commented: “I found the module informative and stimulating – we had some really good discussions about the challenges faced at local, regional and national levels, for both policy and practice. It was also a fantastic networking opportunity which I very much enjoyed.” For further details about the course email: and for more information about places sponsored by Smokefree South West, email: For further information on any of the work detailed in this bulletin, please email:

It is an integrated part of Smokefree South West’s role to support skills and knowledge development through a set of sponsored places for all 15 localities in the region. 58 professionals have attended the course to date.

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