Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) has pledged to continue to tackle smoking by signing up to the NHS Smokefree Pledge which aims to reduce the number of smokers in the borough.
The NHS Declaration on Tobacco Control was signed by Chief Executive, Andrew Foster, Chairman, Robert Armstrong, and Medical Director, Sanjay Arya, and details the commitment WWL has to tackle tobacco use.
As part of the declaration WWL will strive to treat tobacco dependency among its patients and staff by ensuring smokers have access to medication they need to quit and by working with local authorities.
The signing comes as part of Wellfest, a Wigan borough festival aimed at encouraging people to look after their health and wellbeing by trying something that will benefit their physical or mental health.
Ram Sundar, Consultant Respiratory Physician said; “The consequences of smoking on a person’s health have long been known and has impacted on many lives right across Wigan Borough.
“Quitting smoking is one of the simplest ways of improving our borough’s health and reducing health inequalities and we are doing all we can to help people give up smoking for good.”
Ram continued; “By working with partners across the health and social care economy we have seen brilliant results and, by offering smoking cessation support, we are now no different to the national average when we were once statistically among one of the areas with the highest proportion of smokers in the country.”
Great strides have already been taken in reducing the numbers of smokers in the Wigan Borough with the number of adults smoking at 17.7 per cent – which is in the England national average range.
Targeted quit services have also helped to reduce the number of women smoking at the point of delivery which has dropped by 5.1 per cent since 2010/11 to 14.8 per cent.
There are also fewer smokers aged 16 and below compared to the North West average in Wigan Borough.
WWL has long been working with partners to provide a wide variety of support to help people stop smoking.
Ram added; “By signing this declaration, we recognise that while we have come a long way to helping people transform their health there is still much more to do to encourage people not to smoke.
“By quitting, not only will someone get the health benefits, but it will also save money, not just for the smoker, but cut down the need for costly medical interventions due to long term conditions like cardiovascular disease and reduce pressures on our health services.”
For more information on the NHS Smokefree Pledge, and helpful ways to quit, visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree