Press releases

New campaign urges City smokers to break the habit

‘Dear Santa, please help my daddy to stop smoking’ - that’s the emotive message of a new campaign by NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) urging smokers to kick the habit this Christmas.


Smoking is a major cause of illness in Nottingham and is responsible for around 400 deaths in the City every year. Furthermore, it costs the City’s economy an estimated £93 million per year.

The ‘Dear Santa’ campaign, which can be seen on Big Belly Smart bins across the City, prompts parents and grandparents to give kids the best Christmas present ever by giving up cigarettes. The campaign encourages people to contact the City’s New Leaf stop smoking service which offers free support and nicotine replacement aids as well as advice and counselling.

Simon Castle, Assistant Director of Cancer Commissioning at Nottingham City CCG said: “There’s a significantly higher prevalence of smoking in the City which is a major lifestyle contribution to higher rates of cancer in Nottingham compared to the national average - particularly for lung cancer. Giving up smoking can significantly reduce the risk of developing cancer and other long term smoking-related diseases such as heart disease and respiratory conditions.”

Councillor Nicola Heaton, portfolio holder for community services at Nottingham City Council said: “Smoking is an absolutely vital public health issue for Nottingham given the damage that it causes to an individual’s health and to our communities.

“The good news is that smoking rates in the City are coming down, but there is still much hard work to do if we are to meet our ambitious target of reducing smoking levels to 20 per cent by 2020, which is why I really welcome this campaign.”

Studies indicate that 70 per cent of smokers would like to give up and, whilst it can be tough to quit, smokers are four times more likely to give up successfully with help from the NHS.

Added Councillor Heaton: “At this time of year many people start to think about having a healthier lifestyle and stopping smoking, with support from New Leaf people are more likely to succeed and turn their ambitions to quit into reality, which is what the Dear Santa campaign highlights.”

As well as significantly improving their own health, those who quit also reduce the risk of smoking-related disease for those around them. Children are particularly vulnerable and those exposed to second hand smoke are more likely to suffer ear infections, colds, severe asthma attacks and lung problems.

New Leaf stop smoking service, which is run by Nottingham CityCare Partnership, provides free help and support by a team of expert advisors to smokers in Nottingham City and has successfully supported more than 10,000 smokers to quit in the last five years. The service can be accessed at more than 50 venues across the City, including at evenings and weekends, providing free direct access to stop smoking aides.

Says Paul Knapton, Specialist Advisor at New Leaf: “We are recruiting smokers who want to quit but maybe think like they lack willpower, feel they can’t do it on their own or would just welcome some support. We also work with people who use e-cigarettes who want to give up nicotine for good.”

Big Belly Smart bins were first introduced into the City in 2011 and are an ideal platform for the campaign as they also have cigarette disposal tubes attached to them. The Smartbins which have reduced the number of Council bin collection requirements by over 80% and have also reduced street cleaning and litter picking requirements, are very popular with all Nottingham residents and with smokers as they congregate around the Smartbins and utilise the enclosed ashtrays on each unit.

Says Don Coughlan, CEO of Big Belly UK: “We are delighted to have worked with Nottingham City Council and the local NHS to get the Smart bins in place across the City and to provide the perfect platform to get this message across. This is one of the first major advertising campaigns to feature on our units in Nottingham. The Smart bins are the perfect locations for this message to be seen as smokers walk right up to them to dispose of their cigarettes.

The New Leaf service can be accessed free by calling 0800 561 2121 or by texting the word ‘Santa’ free to 80800.

Published: 15 December 2014