Derby City Council is supporting a new advertising campaign ‘Today is the Day’, which encourages smokers to quit today.

The new campaign launched by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) features a heartfelt plea from respiratory doctor Ruth Sharrock for smokers to quit today to protect themselves from smoking related diseases and increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Smoking is the largest cause of preventable death in Derby responsible for over 379 deaths a year and every year a further 613 children take up smoking in Derby.

Cllr Roy Webb, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Housing said:

“Smoking remains the biggest killer in Derby, and we want to encourage all smokers to give quitting a go. Stopping smoking can rapidly reduce your risk of a range of life-threatening illnesses and our dedicated healthy lifestyle service, Livewell can help support you through your quit attempt with free expert advice and medications to deal with cravings. I know first-hand how hard it is to quit, as I stopped myself over 30 years ago – something which would have been much easier if support such as Livewell had been available at the time.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, 44,010 smokers in the East Midlands have quit smoking, according to new analysis by ASH and University College London.

Dr Gillian Lowrey, Respiratory Physician at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has made us all conscious of the need to protect ourselves, our families and loved ones. If you smoke, now is the time to quit to keep yourself healthy and out of hospital. In my role I see the harms of smoking every day, but it’s never too late to quit and experience health benefits, even if you are already unwell. Quitting smoking is the best thing smokers can do to improve their health and using a support service like Livewell makes people four times more likely to be successful than trying alone. I’m proud to be supporting the Today is the Day campaign.”

Katrinea Overton used Livewell’s support and free Nicotine Replacement Therapy products to quit at the start of lockdown and is now celebrating three months smoke free.  The 36-year-old from Derby smoked for 24 years and quit to protect her health as well as be a positive role model to her three children. Like many smokers she had relapsed after stopping for a year but decided the pandemic was reason enough to try again.

She said:

“Getting expert support when I needed it and mouth spray delivered to my door helped me cope with cravings much more effectively than if I’d attempted to quit on my own.  I love feeling free from the ties of smoking, I’m no longer breathless on my walk to work and my children and husband are proud of me. Best of all I know I’m helping to prevent future health problems including complications from COVID-19.”

However, a further 28,876 smokers across the region have tried to quit but been unsuccessful. The campaign, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, will be directing smokers to effective forms of support to quit on the NHS Smokefree website. The campaign builds on successful campaigns in the North East and Greater Manchester and will target smokers across Derbyshire and the East Midlands through a combination of radio, digital audio and online adverts.

See the radio and digital audio advert online.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH said:

“Over 44,010 smokers have succeeded in stopping smoking in the East Midlands since COVID-19 hit us, but that still leaves many thousands more smokers who have not. This campaign is designed to encourage those who’ve not yet succeeded, to wake up and decide today is the day to stop smoking.”