We're calling on smokers to join the thousands who quit in 2020

Published: 01 February 2021 to 31 December 2098

For smokers, 2020 was a great year to quit.

It has been estimated that nationally, a million people quit during the first lockdown and hundreds of thousands have maintained that success, with 2020 having the highest rates of successful quitting on record [1].

We are sharing a powerful new film which tells the stories of those who made a successful quitting journey in this turbulent year and call on others to “put it down, put it out”.

The film was commissioned by Southend Borough Council and is made available for Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust to use locally. It is the work of spoken word artist Megan Cannon.

When the council approached Megan about the project, she was not immediately enthusiastic: “smoking cessation just didn’t sound very interesting”. However, it’s safe to say she changed her mind as when she looked deeper into the project, she found the stories of people who had used council’s stop smoking service inspiring:

“We asked people who’d quit using the stop smoking services loads of questions and their responses were so powerful and full of emotion. I couldn’t wait to put the stories together and create this piece, which I hope can inspire others to give up smoking too.”

It’s been estimated by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), using data from the YouGov

Covid-19 Tracker, that 93,000 people in Yorkshire and The Humber quit smoking during the first lockdown.

An analysis of smokers’ behaviour throughout 2020, by researchers at University College London, found that among people who tried to quit smoking in 2020, the success rate was the highest they’d ever seen; something they put down to the unique circumstances of 2020.

We are supporting local residents as well as our own employees to kick the habit in 2021.

An employee from our Trust was one of those successful in joining the thousands in the region to quit in 2020:

“After a pretty horrendous year full of devastating news, changes to work life during the pandemic and the addition of lockdowns, I began to smoke after successfully quitting the year before. This was kept from my family and I quickly began to chain smoke as I felt this helped me manage a tough year.

I eventually had a wake-up call and realised I was not managing my emotional wellbeing by smoking - I was in fact hiding it. I approached YOURhealth and asked for more support again, I was instantly booked in for appointments and began with NRT therapy.

During my appointments, we discussed alternative techniques to managing the stressors I was faced with. I started to make sure I was taking time out of the house and began walking again (something I had stopped doing), I was finding other things to do such as preparing healthy meals, knitting and learning the guitar.

I feel so much healthier now, the walks are getting easier and longer and I feel great. I could not have got through the smoking journey without support from Kayleigh and I will be forever grateful for this. It’s ok not to be ok, don’t be alone - support is there.”

Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust’s Stop Smoking Service remains open and ready to support local people to quit on a remote basis.

Our YOURhealth service provides free support, guidance and motivation to enable you to successfully quit for good.

Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Champix prescriptions may be available to those who use the service.

Appointments are available from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, as well as weekend appointments to make sure everyone who wants to quit has the opportunity to seek support.

All appointments are currently remote, meaning you don’t need to worry about any unnecessary travel during the current lockdown and you can access support from the comfort of your own home.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said:

“This has been a tough year, but local councils have shown they are more than up to the challenge, showing tremendous commitment to their local communities during the pandemic.

Stop Smoking Services have continued to operate, despite councils having to rebuild them to provide socially distanced support delivered remotely. If you are planning to quit in 2021, seek help from your local service, it might make all the difference.”


To find out more please contact YOURhealth:

Text QUIT to 60163

Call: 0800 9177752

Email: hnf-tr.healthtrainers@nhs.net

Website: www.nhs-health-trainers.co.uk



[1] Action on Smoking and Health. A million People have stopped smoking since COVID

pandemic hit Britain. July 2020.

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