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Bruce reads the sign to quit smoking with Tower Hamlets Council’s free advice sessions

PUBLISHED: 19:30 04 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:37 05 January 2018

Bruce Davidson smiling, having given up smoking after 27 years and feeling healthier and wealthier. Picture source: LBTH/ and PA/Clive Gee

Bruce Davidson smiling, having given up smoking after 27 years and feeling healthier and wealthier. Picture source: LBTH/ and PA/Clive Gee

PA Wire/Press Association Images

The sign was on the wall for Bruce Davidson to quit smoking and get back into health with a New Year public campaign by Tower Hamlets Council to tackle east London’s high rates of heart disease.

Time to quit? Last drag on a fag in a Whitechapel alley off Old Montague Street. Picture: Simon Rawles/LBTHTime to quit? Last drag on a fag in a Whitechapel alley off Old Montague Street. Picture: Simon Rawles/LBTH

The 52-year-old registered sign language interpreter from Bethnal Green had been at it for 27 years and was now costing him £60 a week.

So for six weeks he joined one of the council’s free ‘quit smoking’ sessions being held at various East End locations Monday-to-Friday after being referred by his GP and hasn’t looked back since.

“I was becoming concerned about my health,” he admits. “So now I’ve been using Nicorette patches alongside vaping which I use to manage cravings.

“I noticed after a few weeks I was able to breathe easier and exercise for longer with improved stamina. My sleep has also improved.”

Nurses and medics smiling at the smoking ban when the new Royal London Hospital opened in 2013. Picture: Barts NHS Health TrustNurses and medics smiling at the smoking ban when the new Royal London Hospital opened in 2013. Picture: Barts NHS Health Trust

The free sessions at health centres, GP surgeries, the Royal London Hospital and even the council’s local library centres are to help smokers quit the nasty habit, with support from specialist advisors.

The East End has one of the highest rates for smoking and tobacco chewing common in the Bangladeshi community, particularly among women, the council points out.

The sessions, booked by phone—although no-one is turned away—have tips on nicotine replacement therapy, including vaping and e-cigarettes. A special drop-in session just on vaping “as an alternative to smoking” is being held on January 23 at the Health and Lifestyle research unit in Stayner’s Road, behind Stepney Green Underground station, from 11am to 12.30pm.

E-cigarettes are up to 95 per cent safer, the local authority points out, which work by creating a vapour from a solution of nicotine with other ingredients, with no burning involved so there is no harmful smoke.

Cllr Denise Jones... “Quitting tobacco is best thing you can do for your health — and your wallet.” Picture sorces: LBTH (inset) and Mike BrookeCllr Denise Jones... “Quitting tobacco is best thing you can do for your health — and your wallet.” Picture sorces: LBTH (inset) and Mike Brooke

Cllr Denise Jones said: “You start reducing the risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke as soon as you quit.

“It’s the best thing you can do for your health—and your wallet.”

Advisors are on hand throughout the month with information on options to quit. The free sessions can be booked by phone.

Monday sessions are at St Paul’s Way Medical Centre, Selsey Street, Bow Common, 11am-1pm (phone: 020-7538 0833), Wapping Group Centre, 22 Wapping Lane, 3-4.30pm (020-7481 9376), Health and Lifestyle Research Unit, Stayners Road, Stepney Green, ‘drop in’ session 2-3.45pm, Mission Practice, 208 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, 5-7pm (020-8983 7300), St Andrew’s Centre, Hannaford Walk, Bromley-by-Bow, 10-11.30am (020-8980 1888), Globe Town Surgery, 82-86 Roman Road, 2.45-4pm (020-8980 3023), and Chrisp Street Health Centre, Poplar, 10am-12.45pm (020-7515 4860).

Tuesday sessions: Harford Centre, 115 Harford Street , 10am-12noon (020-7790 1059), St Hilda’s East Centre, Club Row, 1-2pm (020-7739 8066), Bromley-by-Bow Centre, St Leonard’s Street, 3-4pm (020-3728 0980), Blithehale Centre, 22 Dunbridge Street, Bethnal Green, 10am-12noon (020-7739 5497), Barkantine Practice, 121 Westferry Road, Isle of Dogs, 10am-12noon (020-7510 4000), Gough Walk Surgery, Newby Place, Poplar, 2.30-4pm (020-7515 4701), and All Saints Practice, Newby Place, 4.15-5.15pm (020-7093 3895).

Wednesday sessions: XX Place Centre, Alderney Building, Mile End Hospital, Bancroft Road, 10-11.30am (020-7167 2828), Poplar Idea Store, 185 East India Dock Road, 12-1.30pm (020-7364 4332), Whitechapel Shah Jalal Centre, Hessel Street, 3-4.30pm (020-7702 2036), Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, lift 8, Floor 2, 10am-1.30pm (07960-055615), Spitalfields Practice, Old Montague Street, 10am-1pm (020-7247 7070), and Health E1, 9-11 Brick Lane, 2.30-4.30pm (020-7247 0090).

Thursday sessions: Limehouse Practice, Gill Street, 10am-12noon (020-7515 2211), London Muslim Centre, 82-92 Whitechapel Road, 1-2.30pm (020-7650 3000), East One Health, Deancross Street, 4.30-5.30pm (020-7790 2978), Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, Antenatal Clinic, 2-4pm (07960-055615), Bow Idea Store, Roman Road Market, 11am-1.30pm (033-3370 4700), St Stephen’s Centre, Bow Community Hall, William Place, off Roman Road, 11am-1.30pm (020-7364 4332), Harley Grove Centre, Bow, 10am-12noon (020-8983 9099), and Jubilee Street Practice, 368-74 Commercial Road, Stepney, 10am-12noon (020-7780 8000).

Friday session: Albion Centre, 333 Whitechapel Road, 10am-12noon (020-7456 9820).

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