The Defence Smoke-Free Working Environment directive has been created by the Government with a view to supporting the push to drive down adult smoking rates.
The British Army says that smoking has been an intrinsic part of its culture since cigarettes became popular following the Second World War, adding: “The unhealthy addiction is one of the leading causes of premature death with 200 people dying each day from smoking in England. However, the culture is changing and today’s soldiers are more conscious about the affects smoking has on their health. Launched to coincide with Stoptober (it’s the tenth year Stoptober has run during the month of October), Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has directed the policy to help smokers give up and to prevent non-smokers from taking up the habit.”
The smoking ban will apply on all Defence sites including areas near to site entrances. The new policy will cover everybody including civilian contractors and visitors. Unlike armed forces in other countries, soldiers, contractors, and visitors will still be allowed to vape – but only in designated areas.
A study funded by Cancer Research UK, conducted by The University of Exeter and University College London, looked at a subject related to smoking – how many people with key cancer symptoms receive an urgent referral for specialist assessment within two weeks (as recommended in clinical guidelines).
“Red flag” symptoms included blood in urine, a breast lump, problems swallowing, iron-deficiency anaemia and postmenopausal or rectal bleeding.
The researchers discovered 60% of patients are not being referred in time, emphasising the need for individuals to take immediate action to reduce their risk by switching away from smoking.
Stoptober is geared towards those smokers who may have struggled in the past with quitting. Public Health England has been conducting the campaign for ten years and encourages the vaping industry to get involved, many vendors run special offers on starter kits during the month.
The island of Jersey has joined in and is promoting Stoptober to its residents. Officials say: “Since 2012, 824 people in Jersey have taken up the challenge with 46% still not smoking after four weeks. This year people are being urged to look at what things they can start to do when they stop smoking. For instance, smokers spending around £9 a day on cigarettes could save around £3276 a year.”
Lead Stop Smoking Nurse Specialist, Dr Rhona Reardon commented: “As well as improving physical health, there is significant evidence that stopping smoking improves mental wellbeing. Evidence shows that following the short-term withdrawal stage of quitting, people have reduced levels of anxiety, depression and stress and increased positive mood compared with those who continue to smoke.”