Evening Telegraph

E-cigs and bans inspire ‘sea-change’ in Dundee

A fifth of smokers looking to give up smoking have done so in the last year, new figures have revealed.

Almost a fifth of smokers attempting to kick the habit did so last year — the highest success rate in seven years.

Figures from NHS Scotland show that 19.3% of Dundee smokers trying to quit were able to do so within 12 weeks of their designated quit date in 2016/17 — up from 17.6% the year before.

It’s the city’s best long-term success rate since 2010.

Those who have successfully quit in the short term – four weeks, by NHS definition — was also at its highest level, 34.8%, since 2011.

Signing up to the NHS smoking cessation service sees patients agree to have a follow-up meeting four weeks after their designated quit date.

An individual is judged to have successfully given up if they have smoked fewer than five cigarettes in the eight weeks after their first follow-up.

Andrew Radley, NHS Tayside consultant in public health pharmacy, said that recent simplified changes to pharmacy guidelines had allowed greater access to a drug called varenicline — commonly sold as Champix — which has a higher success rate than off-the-shelf nicotine solutions.

He said: “If you try to give up smoking yourself, you only have a small chance of being successful.

“Champix doubles your chance of quitting compared to other treatments.

“Not only that, but community pharmacies are able to dispense it themselves without you having to visit a doctor first.

“That removes a barrier of entry that might have put some people off before.”

In addition, he said that e-cigarettes and bans on smoking in more places were inspiring a “sea change” in people’s attitudes to smoking.

He added: “The rate of young people taking up smoking is at an all-time low. People are walking away from the idea of smoking. There have never been more options to help people to quit smoking.

“Making the decision to quit smoking is always a personal journey but the more options there are the more likely you are to find a way to quit that suits you.

“E-cigarettes are letting people be in control of that too – you manage it.

“The Scottish Government plans on making Scotland a smoke-free country by 2034.

“At present Tayside has a 19% prevalence rate for smokers but that could be reduced – and that would be such a good thing for us all.”