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By Fiona Reid
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Top results for smoking support service

GREAT progress has been made in efforts to help people to stop smoking in Dumfries and Galloway – far exceeding national targets.

In fact, the local target has been surpassed by 153 per cent.

And health officials hope it will spur more people on in the new year when quitting smoking is often a popular resolution.

Abbie Robertson, pictured, is interim service manager of Dumfries and Galloway smoking cessation service Quit Your Way, and she said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the progress that we’ve seen around supporting people to quit smoking in areas where health and social inequality is felt most.

“One of our targets locally is to help people who refer themselves as quitters, to still not be smoking 12 weeks after they have quit. Only those people who live in deprived areas as defined as the 40 per cent most derived NHS Board areas are included in this count.

“In quarter four of 2020/21, a total of 246 people in Dumfries and Galloway living in areas of inequality who self-reported as quitters were still not smoking after 12 weeks – absolutely smashing the Scottish Government target of 161 people.

“Having achieved 153 per cent of this target, this made Dumfries and Galloway the best performing board in this area – with only two other boards meeting 100 per cent of this target.”

She explained that local standards are set and agreed by The Scottish Government and NHS Boards and responsibility sits jointly with Quit Your Way and community pharmacies.

Abbie added: “I want to pay the highest credit to all those involved in supporting this key health objective – within the Quit Your Way as the specialist smoking cessation service but also the community pharmacy teams across our region, who are undertaking this work in what I appreciate is a highly pressured time for them all.

“A big thank you to all who refer into the service and in particular our fantastic midwife teams who work in partnership with us to make sure that all pregnant smokers or those exposed to second hand smoke are referred via our joint pathway for support.”

Commenting on work during the covid months, she said: “The Quit Your Way team know how hard they work and have continued to work throughout the pandemic.

“We have been very lucky to have continued with virtual smoking cessation support and we are grateful for this opportunity, but the team have done an amazing job of spending time counselling people over the phone who would sometimes have had no one else.

“Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable death, disability, ill-health and social inequality and there is argument that this was felt even more so during the pandemic.

“Treating tobacco addiction is one of the most cost-effective and life-saving interventions provided by the NHS and I am so proud of our small team for excelling in this.”

n Anyone looking to stop smoking and who would benefit from support can contact the Quit Your Way Service directly on 0845 602 6861/07736 955 211 [email protected] or via Facebook

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