Thousands of people from across Tayside have been helped to give up smoking as part on a new scheme.
NHS Tayside launched quit4u in March 2009 and an evaluation report on the scheme was presented at Discovery Point, Dundee, on Tuesday.
The scheme combines behavioural support, medication and financial incentives to help eligible smokers in Tayside stop smoking.
It was developed with help and input from smokers in the deprived target areas of Dundee and so far more than 3,000 people have signed up to the scheme.
Michael Maloney, 36, has signed up for the scheme after he suffered a massive heart attack in December 2010, attributed to his 20-a-day habit.
Both Michael and his wife Lisa, 35, who have two young sons, had smoked since their early teens but the brush with death prompted him to pledge to quit immediately. Lisa also pledged to quit, as did father Michael (snr) and several of Michael’s work colleagues at the Royal Mail where he works as a postman.
Michael said: “I got up in the morning and didn’t feel myself. As I walked down stairs I was crippled with pain and had to sit down. I then got this incredible pain between my shoulder blades. I’ve never felt pain like it.
“My inspiration to give up smoking was seeing the kids’ terrified little faces. They have always been anti-smoking and I felt bad having to put them through this, knowing I was ignoring all the warnings.”
The evaluation of quit4u found that the ‘whole package’ the scheme provides, support through smoking cessation groups or from local pharmacies, weekly ca
Comparing quit rates for quit4u with the average for smoking cessation services across Scotland, the evaluation found that quit4u had a one-month quit rate of 49.9% compared with a national average of 33.7% and a three month quit rate of 30.7% compared to the national average of 14.2%.
Following the success of quit4u in Dundee, NHS Tayside has rolled out the scheme to areas in Angus and Perth and Kinross.
Responding to the evaluation report findings, public health minister Michael Matheson said: “It’s great news that this project is really helping people in Tayside to give up smoking, and, more importantly, stop for good.
“I would encourage other health boards to look to quit4u to see if there are lessons they can learn to increase smoking cessation right across Scotland.
“Giving up smoking is the biggest single thing anyone can do to improve their health but you’re more likely to succeed if you get help, rather than relying on willpower alone.”