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New drop-in sessions to help people quit smoking

Friday, 04 July, 2014
New drop-in sessions to help people quit smoking

People thinking about quitting smoking are being encouraged to seek help from the NHS at a new drop-in session in Ashington starting this week.

The Northumberland Stop Smoking Service, which is provided by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, is holding new weekly sessions from 4.30pm to 6.45pm at Hirst Welfare, Ashington, on Thursdays starting January 16. These are in addition to the 40 sessions offered by the service throughout the county each week.

Evidence shows you are four times more likely to quit smoking successfully with support from your local NHS stop smoking service.

Last year, the Northumberland Stop Smoking Service helped more than 2,000 people to quit including Sarah Crone, from Ashington. Mother-of-three Sarah quit smoking after realising the damaging effects of smoking to her and her family’s health.

Sarah lives with her children in Ashington and had smoked 20-30 a day since she was 13. Recently she got a lung infection and had difficulty breathing. She noticed she was getting a sharp pain in her left side every time she smoked so went to her GP.

It was at her GP’s surgery when she picked up a leaflet on smoking that she got the wake-up call that she needed to quit for good.

Sarah, 31, said: “My main reason for quitting was my kids. They used to say I smelt when I cuddled them and when I went to the doctors I was really shocked to read that smoking can cause meningitis too, especially as my youngest son had meningitis when he was 18 months.

“I never thought it could be related to me smoking. Knowing it was affecting my son’s health as well as mine really spurred me on to quit for good.”

Sarah had tried a few times before to give up and has now been off the cigarettes for 12 weeks. She went to the Northumberland Stop Smoking Service at a chemist in Ashington to get help to quit.

Here she met an NHS stop smoking advisor every week as part of a 12-week programme. Her advisor offered support, gave advice on how to manage cravings and information on the different types of treatment available.

Sarah said: “Mandy, my stop smoking advisor, was fantastic. She offered me a range of things, but I found patches and lozenges worked best for me. She was really helpful and made me feel really welcome.”

Almost as soon as she quit, Sarah noticed her health improving.

She added: “As well as my breathing getting better, my skin got brighter, the dark circles under my eyes disappeared and my hair’s now not as greasy. It’s also made a massive difference money-wise too. In two-and-half months I managed to save enough to buy my son a trampoline.

“It was more expensive too as we had to get it from America because it needed to be adapted due to my son’s cochlear implants.”

Mandy Young, stop smoking advisor at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’m really pleased for Sarah. She is proof that it’s never too late to stop smoking and I would urge anyone who is thinking of quitting to come along to one of our sessions and find out about the range of support available.

“We’ve got six new advisors starting in January so look out for information on new sessions for 2014.”

Whilst going to Northumberland Stop Smoking Service, Sarah also managed to get her brother to quit and is encouraging other people to take the leap and quit this January as one of their new year’s resolutions.

Sarah added: “If you are thinking of quitting I would definitely recommend it. It’s made such a difference to me and my family. Even if you’ve tried to quit before – keep at it. It’s worth it.”

Northumberland Stop Smoking Service provides daytime and evening appointments at a variety of venues, including community centres, health centres, colleges and supermarkets. For more information, call 01670 813 135 or visit