New helpline service supports Londoners to quit smoking

A new Stop Smoking London Helpline service, proudly funded and supported by 30 London Boroughs, has been launched by the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) London. It forms part of an initiative aimed at finding new ways to help smokers in London who want to quit and has been developed as part of the Stop Smoking Plus model by Professor Robert West of University College London.

The helpline provides a convenient way for Londoners to access good quality, specialist advice on how to quit smoking. It’s also a gateway to finding out more about the range of free and varied support available across the capital.

Trained advisers will work with smokers to understand their habit and signpost them to help in their local area, or offer them the opportunity of telephone-based support if they qualify.

Somen Banerjee, Director of Public Health at Tower Hamlets Council and smoking cessation lead for ADPH London, said: “The aim of the Stop Smoking London helpline is to provide a convenient way for Londoners to get access to high-quality, specialist advice on how to quit smoking. Telephone-based support fits well into people’s busy lifestyles, and is perfect if you’ve always wanted to stop smoking, but aren’t sure how, need regular motivation or someone to give you tips and advice about willpower and other issues associated with quitting.

“If you’re a smoker who wants to kick the habit, you’re not alone. We know there are around 1.3 million smokers in London and roughly one in three of you want to give up. And it’s highly likely that you’ve tried to at least once already. If this is you, don’t let this dishearten you – you can succeed at quitting, and research tells us that you’re much more likely to with the right support.”

Cllr Kevin Davis, London Councils’ Executive member for health, said: “Boroughs are committed to playing their part in improving the health and wellbeing of Londoners. The introduction of this smoking cessation phone line will bring us one step closer to a cigarette-free capital.

“This solution to accessing services demonstrates our commitment to seek innovative ways to develop an alternative response for people to access help, whilst also taking into account the daily pressures of busy life in the capital.”

Smokers can call the local rate number seven days a week – Monday to Fridays from 9am to 8pm and on Saturday and Sunday between 11am and 4pm. For more information about the range of support available for smokers, they can visit www.stopsmokingportal.com.

They will be able to speak to a professionally trained advisor to find out what support is available in their area and establish which quit methods will work best, from different types of medication, to mobile apps and specialist programmes.

If smokers live in a participating borough, they will be able to get support from a specialist advisor offering regular one-to-one support over the phone. This means they will be able to arrange call backs at regular intervals throughout their quit attempt.

According to official figures from the Annual Population Survey (Local Tobacco Control Profiles) smoking prevalence in London was 15.2% in 2016, and declining at a rate of 3 percentage points every 4 years which would put prevalence below the target of 5% by 2030.

Stop Smoking London has been developed through the London Smoking Cessation Transformation Programme, which aims to help people in London to stop smoking. It is funded by 30 London boroughs and commissioned by the London Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH).