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A community approach to kicking the habit
Date:6/29/2010

A team of health researchers from The University of Nottingham are spearheading a new project to reduce tobacco use in an area which has one of the highest rates of smoking in the country.

Funded by NHS Nottingham City, the initiative is harnessing the power of local community champions to challenge the general acceptance of smoking in Nottingham's Aspley ward and to encourage more people to quit.

Nottingham has the 3rd highest rate of smoking in England and more than half the people who live in Aspley smoke 53 per cent, compared to the national average of 21 per cent. Smoking is a key reason why people living in Aspley die, on average, 10 years younger than people in wealthier parts of the city.

The researchers, led by Professor Ann McNeill, of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at the University, set out to discover why so many people in Aspley smoke and what effect social challenges, including high unemployment and low incomes were having on the community's smoking rates.

By getting a fuller understanding of the issues contributing to the problem, they are hoping to develop more of a community-led approach to tobacco control in the ward and to foster a positive environment in which young people do not start to smoke and people who do want to give up are offered all the support they need.

The study is focusing on three estates within the ward Aspley, Bells Lane and Broxtowe. During the initial phase of the project, researchers conducted 100 street interviews and held a series of focus groups with smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers of all ages to explore attitudes towards smoking

Among the consistent themes they uncovered were:

  • Smoking was very much the social norm. It was strongly associated with unemployment, boredom and stress and was often seen as a shared activity, creating a sense of belonging and identity with the rest of the community.

  • There was a general l
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Contact: Professor Ann McNeill
ann.mcneill@nottingham.ac.uk
44-115-823-1699
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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