Helping Lancashire quit smoking
Joanne McCullagh is working with us to reduce smoking rates in Lancashire.
I’m a public health specialist at Lancashire County Council. Around 19.1% of our residents (PDF) living with a long term condition, including COPD, are smokers. That’s higher than the national average (17.4%) and it’s a figure that hasn’t changed significantly in the last three years.
Stopping smoking is one of the most effective treatments for people with lung disease such as COPD. Quitting can help people live longer and feel better. Smoking is highly addictive and giving up can be really difficult, so getting the right support is crucial.
Some studies have shown that people who use stopping smoking support services are four times more likely to succeed at kicking the addiction than those who go it alone. So, we worked with the British Lung Foundation to deliver a training programme that would support our health care professionals in primary and secondary care to talk to patients about stopping smoking.
We chose to work alongside the BLF because we know of their excellent work around smoking cessation and their experience of supporting people with a lung condition. They ran twelve training sessions across the whole of the county and a range of health care professionals were invited along.
The sessions included an introduction to COPD and the impact of smoking on the lungs. Participants were also taken through the different ways to talk to patients about stopping smoking and given tips on how best to cover the issue in a short period of time (brief intervention).
Lancashire County Council developed materials for participants to give to patients with lung conditions. These included a stop smoking DVD and a short booklet with experiences of other people who had successfully given up. They were also given the BLF’s stopping smoking information and their Living well with COPD DVD.
These were really well received and the people we talked to commented on how useful it will be to have resources to give out to patients. Health professionals told us they are now more confident talking to patients about stopping smoking, so I’m expecting to see more referrals to the stop smoking service as a result of the training programme.