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Stop it and tidy up

01 October 2018

Health Care

Volunteer litter-pickers spent the first day of ‘Stoptober’ collecting cigarette litter from around the entrances to Southend University Hospital to demonstrate the negative impact that casually discarded cigarette butts have on our environment.

'Stoptober' is a month long national campaign encouraging smokers to quit the habit by offering comprehensive support to help ditch the cigarettes.  Southend University Hospital teamed up with Southend on Sea Borough Council on 1 October to kick off the month with support and advice for staff, patients and visitors at an information stand at the old main entrance to the hospital.

Present on the day were Southend Hospital's smoking cessation team and the team from Southend on Sea Borough Council, alongside the Make Southend Sparkle team, whose mission is to encourage pride and positive action to improve our local environment.

Helen Smith, COPD specialist nurse at the hospital, helped coordinate the event: "Joining forces with our colleagues at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council marked the start of Stoptober and raised awareness of the support available to help our staff, visitors and members of the public stop smoking for good."

Lots of cigarette butts were picked up on the day, making an immediately noticeable and fantastic difference to the environment.



Councillor Mark Flewitt, cabinet member for public protection said, "Smoking isn't only harmful to our health, but it contaminates the environment we live in too. The toxins from one single cigarette butt can contaminate a litre of water. As today's activity has shown, thousands of cigarette ends are dropped on our streets every day, so I urge everyone to please use cigarette bins or a pocket ashtray.

"Thank you to the team at Make Southend Sparkle for not only clearing the cigarette ends from the area around the hospital today, but for all their work across the town helping residents and visitors make the town sparkle and a great place to live work and visit. If the public would like to get involved with Make Southend Sparkle, they would be grateful for your help. No experience is required and there's no ongoing commitment necessary. Please visit the Make Southend Sparkle Facebook Page."

With a cross section of staff and the public reached on the day, the team were optimistic that the good work will continue throughout Stoptober, and emphasised that support is easy to access for anyone thinking of giving up smoking during this month or any other.

Councillor Lesley Salter, cabinet member for healthy communities and wellbeing said, "We urge anyone considering quitting to take the plunge, and to contact our stop smoking service on 01702 212000, which is free, friendly and supportive. We are determined to see our vision of a smoke-free Southend as soon as we can and would like to give anyone making the decision to quit smoking a huge, supportive pat on the back."