Improve your mental health through quitting
We're asking Lewisham's smokers to think about quitting for No Smoking Day on Wednesday 11 March, so that they can improve their physical health and emotional health.
Dr Charles Gostling, Senior Clinical Director for NHS Lewisham CCG said: "Stopping smoking isn't always easy, and we don't want to lecture or patronise.
"But we do want the people of Lewisham to lead healthier and happier lives. That means making sure smokers are informed, and most importantly, supported."
He added: "We know about the physical damage that smoking can cause. The link between, for example, lung cancer and smoking was established many years ago – and the harm that smoking can cause to the circulatory system is well known.
"But not everyone realises that smoking can also be harmful to mental health and actually lead to depression and anxiety."
When people stop smoking, studies show:
· Anxiety, depression and stress levels are lower.
· Quality of life and positive mood improve.
· The dosage of some medicines used to treat mental health problems can be reduced.
Dr Gostling added: "However, it's important to remember that if you quit smoking, you'll stand a much better chance of doing so if you plan ahead and you have support. Nicotine is an addictive drug, and like any addiction, it has to be managed.
"If you do experience depression, your attempt is less likely to work if you're feeling unstable, experiencing a crisis or undergoing significant changes in your life.
"But if you live in Lewisham and you feel the time is right for you to quit, you can see a specialist advisor who will give you intensive weekly or bi-weekly support. And you can also receive products such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) that will make quitting easier."
Dr Gostling added: "It's a common belief, often reinforced in popular culture, that smoking helps you relax. But in reality, smoking actually increases anxiety, tension and depression. We want to break the myth and offer our support and encouragement."
If you take antipsychotic medicines or antidepressants, it's important you talk to your GP or psychiatrist before you stop smoking – the dosage of these medicines may need to be monitored and the amount you need to take could be reduced.
Lewisham Stop Smoking Service, Smokers' Clinics and online support:
- You can see a specialist advisor who will give you intensive weekly or bi-weekly support
- You can see an advisor in the community or at your GP surgery.
- They are flexible in terms of timings – i.e., you can start whenever you like
- You are prescribed your medication via a voucher which you can 'cash in' at your pharmacy
- There is also an online stop smoking support through our digital self-help service. This is suitable for low to moderate-dependency smokers.
You can book an appointment by calling 0800 0820 388 and all of the clinics are listed here.