Sunderland AFC player Jack Diamond has given his backing to a new campaign which encourages Black Cats fans, and those living or working in Sunderland, to stop smoking for good.
The Foundation of Light, Sunderland AFC’s official charity, has teamed up with the Sunderland Specialist Stop Smoking Service to launch ‘Kick the Habit’, helping local residents give up smoking for good.
With the nation currently battling coronavirus (COVID-19) it has never been more important for people to start looking after their health.
Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in Sunderland and results in thousands of hospital admissions per year. The partnership will help to raise awareness of the benefits of stopping smoking and the support available to those wanting to quit.
Smoking is proven to be harmful to the immune system, making smokers more vulnerable to infectious diseases such as COVID-19. Research has also shown that smoking can also damage the heart and lungs, which can put smokers at greater risk of developing severe disease as a result of COVID-19.
Stopping smoking not only protects the smoker, it also protects those around them from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
Adults and children who breathe in second-hand smoke regularly, are more likely to get the same diseases as smokers, including lung cancer and heart disease, and pregnant women exposed to passive smoke are more prone to premature birth and their baby is more at risk of low birthweight and cot death. Children who live in a smoky house are at higher risk of breathing problems, such as asthma and allergies.
Quitting also has a financial benefit, with those smoking 10 cigarettes a day potentially saving over £1500 per year.
Tim Holmes, the incoming manager at Sunderland Specialist Stop Smoking Service explains why the partnership is so important, “If you smoke, quitting is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, and reduce your need to use our very busy NHS.
“We are delighted to have teamed up with the Foundation to support fans to Kick the Habit and to let them know that even if they’ve tried before, don’t give up on quitting because they can do it with the right support.”
“Enlisting the help of such a fantastic organisation, which is at the heart of our community and supports thousands of people each year, means we can share this important health message in a way we haven’t been able to previously.”
Liz Barton-Jones, Head of Health and Wellbeing at the Foundation of Light said “With so many health and financial benefits associated with quitting, we are delighted to be supporting the stop smoking service to spread this important message.
“All of us at the Foundation as well as the club and the players, are keen to get behind the Kick the Habit campaign to support fans to make the right choices to live happier and healthier lives.”
The service, run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and commissioned by Sunderland City Council continues to provide free, friendly and confidential support and advice throughout the pandemic by telephone, online consultations and via a live chat function on its website.
Gerry Taylor, Executive Director of Public Health and Integrated Commissioning at Sunderland City Council, added: “Not only is smoking the single biggest preventable cause of premature death in the UK, but it also increases the risk of contracting respiratory infections and can make the symptoms of viruses like Covid-19 more severe.
“Stopping smoking brings immediate and long-lasting benefits to health for both smokers and those around them by protecting them from the damaging effects of second-hand smoke. I’m delighted that the Foundation of Light are backing the campaign, and I’d urge anyone who smokes to take advantage of the support available through Stop Smoking Service to help them quit.”
To find out more or to find local support to help you quit visit www.stopsmokingsunderland.nhs.uk or call 0800 169 9913.
10 March 2021