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19 October 2016

Bristol hospital staff get the support they need to become smoke-free

University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) highlights the role of smoke-free practitioner as hospital staff receive guidance on how to quit smoking.

This Stoptober, UH Bristol's smoke-free practitioner, Nichola Woodacre, will continue her work to support Trust employees on becoming smoke-free.

Nichola says: "My role is to provide 12 weeks of free one to one sessions to staff, giving necessary information and tailored guidance on how to give up smoking. Since starting my smoke-free practitioner post in June 2015, which is funded by Public Health England, I've seen over 50 employees at the Trust, 26 of who are now smoke-free."

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Following an initial consultation with Nichola, Rachel Hartles who is a reception and print supervisor at the Trust, embarked on her smoke-free journey.

"I have taken the decision to give up smoking after 16 years of having smoked five to10 cigarettes a day. I had previously tried to give up, but without any support from a professional, I wasn't successful", says Rachel.

"When I first met Nichola, I was given a wealth of information about the health benefits of quitting, financial savings and methods to achieve my goal without having to go cold turkey. As well as keeping a diary of my smoke-free days, I also took a carbon monoxide test to measure my progress. I set a date to start this process which happened to be the 1st October, in time for Stoptober.


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"It's been two weeks, I've smoked one and a half cigarettes, used an inhalator and patches and I can already notice a difference in myself. My chest feels more open and I feel much more alert. Following an amber rating in my first carbon monoxide test, I am now at the same level as someone who doesn't smoke and I couldn't be more proud.

"Nichola has been truly amazing, not once have I felt pressured or discouraged, even after a minor blip. This journey isn't just about me; it's about setting an example to my colleagues and realising I want to see my nieces grow up.

Nichola concludes: "It isn't an easy venture becoming smoke-free, especially for employees that work in a high pressure environment, or have smoked for a long period of time. However, it is important staff can set an example to patients and visitors, to promote healthier living and good practice at our hospitals.


"Helping employees in this process is always rewarding whether they give up completely or reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke a day. Smoking can cause a number of health problems, which can also lead to sickness and time off work in people with respiratory conditions such as asthma. Given you are four times more likely to give up smoking with the help of the smoke-free service at UH Bristol, we hope to one day work with our patients to continue to help others to become smoke-free." 

For advice on how to stop smoking, visit the Stoptober website.