Today (1st July) marks the 15-year anniversary of the introduction of smokefree law, protecting people from secondhand smoke in restaurants, pubs, bars, shops, offices and workplaces.
It is estimated that around 1 in 4 people in Greater Manchester smoked in 2007, compared to just 1 in 6 today – a dramatic fall in smoking prevalence rates . But the message from NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care is that more needs to be done to make smoking history for everyone.
That’s why it is launching the latest phase of the successful Never Quit Quitting campaign, with the aim of helping thousands of people to make a quit attempt.
During the last phase of the campaign, more than three quarters (76%) of smokers  who saw the campaign took positive action to go smokefree, including looking for support, cutting down, and quitting.
Never Quit Qutting is running on TV, radio, digital, and outdoor advertising across the city-region with messages backed by NHS doctors, nurses, ex-smokers and current quitters.
It highlights the serious health risks of smoking, while encouraging smokers to increase their chances of quitting with a combination of personalised support and stop smoking aids.
Andrea Crossfield, Making Smoking History Lead at NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care, said: “It’s hard to imagine a time when smoking was the norm in pubs, bars, restaurants and workplaces. We’ve made amazing progress in the last 15 years, but we need to end the harm and misery tobacco causes killing 2 in 3 long term smokers . In Greater Manchester, our target is to make smoking history by 2030.
“The Never Quit Quitting campaign recognises that smoking is an addiction and everyone has a different quit journey.
“If you’re still smoking, there has never been a better time to quit. We want everyone who smokes to know that there are so many ways to quit and they can access whatever support they need to help them stop for good.”
This latest campaign follows The Khan Review: Making Smoking Obsolete, released earlier this month. Among its 15 recommendations it calls for investing more into stop smoking services alongside investment in national media campaigns, supported by regional media. The success of Greater Manchester’s Never Quit Quitting campaign was highlighted within the report.
Dr Matt Evison, Clinical Lead for Making Smoking History, said: “Smoking is still a huge problem for society. Every single day I see people who are living a shadow of a life they could be – all because of smoking.
“But the good news is – take the decision now and, literally, as soon as you stop smoking, your body starts to repair itself. Put out that last cigarette and you’ll begin to feel healthier within 24 hours. The poisonous carbon monoxide will leave your bloodstream and your lungs will start to clear of mucus.
“Week-by-week, month-by-month – the longer you are smoke free, the lesser your chances of heart attacks, cancer or lung disease. I see first hand the impact, too many in our Greater Manchester hospital beds are smokers.
“The right advice and support will help you to quit, so talk to your GP, local pharmacy or stop smoking service. Never quit quitting.”
Those sentiments are echoed by Stockport mum-of-two Charlotte Finchett, 50. Nine years ago she completely changed her life when she quit smoking with the help of nicotine replacement.
When Charlotte’s car broke down and she couldn’t find the money to get it fixed, she knew she could no longer afford to smoke.
She explained: “When I first decided to quit smoking, I missed the comfort, but I soon realised it was more like a monster on my shoulder. Once I was able to let go, I felt I had my life back. And with the extra money I was able to buy a new car which was fantastic.”
Since quitting smoking, Charlotte has helped others overcome their addiction. She now works as a stop smoking specialist at The Christie, supporting cancer patients to quit.
She adds: “As an ex-smoker myself, I know first-hand how challenging quitting can be. But it’s important to keep trying and to get the right support. Quitting takes practice, but you don’t have to do it on your own. In fact, with a bit of help, you’re far more likely to succeed.”