A Plymouth woman is celebrating starting 2020 as a non-smoker after kicking the habit with the help of an initiative dedicated to helping smokers across the city swap cigarettes for vaping.

Livewell Southwest’s health improvement team One You Plymouth joined forces with Plymouth Community Homes in October 2019 to pilot ‘Swap to Stop’, working closely together to support tenants to make healthier lifestyle choices. Tenants who are smokers and are interested in taking part are offered a free rechargeable e-cigarette, four weeks supply of liquid, visits to free community clinics and dedicated support from the One You Plymouth practitioners including behavioural support.

Research from Public Health England has shown that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to be able to stay quit for good.

Julie, a Plymouth Community Homes tenant who had been smoking 20 cigarettes a day for over 40 years, said: “Quitting smoking was something I’d wanted to do for a while, for health reasons and for money reasons – I couldn’t afford it in the end. I’d tried to quit smoking before, but the scheme prompted me to try again.

“I saw the stop smoking advisor and the vape I got from them was brilliant, much better than the ones I’d tried before. I couldn’t quit with those, but with this one I did! I saw the advisor around four times over the weeks and their support really helped.

“I took one puff of a cigarette during my quit attempt but I didn’t like it. I’d been smoking for so long. My kids are really pleased with me for doing it.”

Mel Edwards, Health Improvement Manager at Livewell Southwest, said: “Congratulations to Julie on becoming smoke free! It is fantastic that we have a positive outcome already from this pilot.

“We’re really excited to be working with Plymouth Community Homes to support their tenants who want to quit smoking through ‘Swap to Stop’.

“Public Health England advises that vaping carries a small fraction of the risk of smoking. Using a nicotine-containing e-cigarette makes it much more likely someone will quit successfully than relying on willpower alone – three studies this year have found them twice as effective as NRT alone. However, it’s important to use UK-regulated e-liquids and never risk vaping home-made or illicit e-liquids or adding substances.”

Adam Stockman, Senior Housing Officer at Plymouth Community Homes said: “We are pleased to have been approached by Livewell Southwest about setting up this opportunity for our residents. Reading about Julie’s story and how she has succeeded in giving up the cigarettes is inspiring!

“If you are a Plymouth Community Homes resident and you or a member of your household would like to give up smoking please get in touch with your Housing Team on 0808 230 6500 who can let you know what to do next.”

As well as helping smokers who want to quit, One You Plymouth also offers other support to adults across the city to make small changes now which will make a big difference to their health and wellbeing later in life. To find out how One You Plymouth can help you have a healthier lifestyle visit www.oneyouplymouth.co.uk or call 01752 437177.