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​Get support to go smoke free in 2016

GPs in Southwark are encouraging local residents to seek support to quit smoking as part of Public Health England’s smoke free January campaign.
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Smokers across the borough who are looking to quit can pick up a free ‘quit card’ from their local pharmacy or GP practice to help them find the right support to stop smoking – and stick to it. The quit cards enable smokers to look at the support options available and find the right combination that meets their needs, with advice and support from their GP and local pharmacist.

Public Health England is highlighting the debilitating nature of serious lung disease for which smoking is the biggest preventable risk factor, after the latest GP figures revealed that more than 1 million people are living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

COPD is an umbrella term for serious lung conditions that include chronic bronchitis and emphysema. People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways and destruction of lung tissue. Typical symptoms include breathlessness when active, a persistent cough and frequent chest infections.

Smokers can often dismiss the early signs of COPD as a 'smoker's cough' but if they continue smoking and the condition worsens, it can greatly impact on their quality of life. Large numbers of people with COPD are unable to participate in everyday activities such as climbing stairs, housework or gardening; with many even unable to take a holiday because of their disease.

To highlight the impact of this progressive and debilitating disease, a new short film has been released featuring Olympian Iwan Thomas, whose mother has recently been diagnosed with COPD. Together with four smokers, Iwan takes part in an experiment to illustrate the difficulties of living with advanced COPD and urges people to quit this New Year.

If you’re interested in finding out more about stopping smoking visit the NHS Smokefree website, pop into your local pharmacy or make an appointment with your GP to discuss the best way forward.