Hackney campaign calls for greater participation in local smoke free programmes this Stoptober

SWIM's CEO thinks it's particularly important to quit during the pandemic. Picture: SWIM and NHS

SWIM's CEO thinks it's particularly important to quit during the pandemic. Picture: SWIM and NHS - Credit: SWIM and NHS

A Hackney community interest company has teamed up with Hackney GPs to help residents stop smoking, particularly people from African and Caribbean communities.

Support When It Matters (SWIM) enterprises is working with City and Hackney GP confederation to encourage smokers to quit the habit this month as part of the national NHS Stoptober campaign.

CEO Peter Merrifield quit smoking some years ago and says people from BAME communities may not be aware of the stop smoking programmes, but hopes this year’s targeted Smoke Free Hackney the campaign will encourage more people to get involved and raise awareness about support available locally.

He added: “We want to encourage as much sign up during this particular pandemic, and of course, we know about the disproportional impact the virus has had on the Black and minority ethnic (BAME) community.

“Naturally, we want to promote and drive home the importance of looking after your lungs.”

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In a report published this year, SWIM analysed data from over 300,000 patients in East and South London, and found that Black Caribbean and Bangladeshi men were most likely to smoke and with “high-intensity”.

Patients listed as other white were revealed to be the heaviest smokers with Indian men the least likely to smoke in SWIM’s study.

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In addition, more Black Caribbean women and White British or Irish women were shown to be smokers with rates almost double that of their Asian counterparts.

Local statistics differ considerably to national averages with mixed ethnicity people smoking more than any other ethnicity on average across the whole of the country.

SWIM’s study also shows how the prevalence of smoking increases with higher levels of deprivation.

Peter worries a second Covid-19 spike and increased self-isolation will lead to increase alcohol and smoking consumption and thinks now is the best time to quit.

In June, SWIM outreach team gave out face masks, gloves and hand sanitisers outside Dalston Kingsland Station. The team also spoke to people about the implications of Covid-19 on pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

READ MORE: Workers raise awareness about Covid-19 in Dalston

The company’s aim is to help people in Hackney and neighbouring communities improve health, wellbeing and life chances through professional expertise and lived experience.

For free advice and support to quit smoking visit www.smokefreehackney.org/home or call a specialist for free on 0800 046 99 46.

For more information about SWIM visit www.swimenterprises.com/