Smokers in Tower Hamlets urged to quit for World COPD Day

Smokers in Tower Hamlets are being urged to get the help they need to quit for good. 

Smoking is the main cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which can greatly affect a person’s quality of life and leave them more vulnerable to other illnesses. 

Ahead of World COPD Day (Wednesday 21 November 2018), GPs in the borough are urging smokers to take advantage of the support available to help give up their habit. 

COPD describes a group of serious lung conditions that make it difficult to empty air out of the lungs because airways have become narrow. Living with COPD can put a strain on your body and make it hard for people to do even simple, everyday tasks. 

About 1.2 million people in the UK are living with diagnosed COPD, making it the country’s second most common lung disease after asthma. About two per cent of the population – 4.5 per cent of those aged over 40 – live with diagnosed COPD, and the number is growing.

Smokers can often dismiss the early signs of COPD as a 'smoker's cough' but if they continue smoking and the condition worsens, it seriously affect their health.

Stopping smoking will reduce the risk of this and other diseases. 

In Tower Hamlets, support with giving up is available from Quit Right Tower Hamlets on 020 7882 8230 or 020 7791 1774 from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. You can also email bhnt.quitrighttowerhamlets@nhs.net or visit www.quitrightth.org for more information. 

Help and advice to stop smoking is also available from www.nhs.uk/smokefree 

In London, more people are admitted to hospital for COPD than in other regions with similar prevalence. According to the British Lung Foundation, the reasons for this are not clear, although pollution levels may play a part. 

The charity’s research also shows that people in Tower Hamlets are twice more likely to be admitted to hospital with COPD than the average rate for the UK.

Sir Sam Everington, a local GP and Chair of NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Many of our residents have COPD and don’t even know it. They’re struggling with their symptoms and a lower quality of life. Their condition is progressing quickly because they’re not receiving treatment.

“On World COPD Day, let’s raise awareness of COPD, find the missing millions and help people get the treatment and support they deserve.”

It is also important at this time of the year for people with lung diseases and other long term conditions to get their free NHS flu vaccination from their GP or local pharmacy.

To arrange your flu vaccination or find out if you are eligible, contact your GP practice or speak to a pharmacist for more information.

World COPD day is organised by the British Lung Foundation. To support the day, you can take the charity’s online breath test which can help you decide if it’s time to see you GP. 

For more information, including tips for living well with COPD, visit www.blf.org.uk/copdday