“I was the smoking cessation manager when I was a GP practice nurse so I know the potential if you can get the right messages to the right people at the right time and place.
“When I first started here, I saw the number of people who smoke was quite high, which is fairly typical in the construction industry.
“So I did a survey and found that about 29 per cent of people onsite at any time were smokers. I contacted the Birmingham stop smoking service and they came along to a health seminar and had quite a lot of interest. So we teamed up for the Stoptober campaign and the weekly clinics followed on from that.”
By the end of January, the number of people who had accessed the service was approaching 100 and well over half had managed to stay tobacco-free for at least four weeks – the accepted minimum to deem a quit attempt successful.
Mace logistics manager Mark Akhurst managed to kick a 20-a-day habit with the help of the Stoptober campaign and has stayed ‘quit’ since.
“Smoking has been part of the culture of the workplace in the construction industry,” he said.
“I smoked about 20 a day for years and had no intention of giving up – you associate it with your break-time and it’s difficult to break that habit.
“But when the support is there regularly at work and you see more and more of your workmates giving it a go, it works very well.”
Stop smoking service manager Carol Carter said: “Giving up smoking is not easy for anyone but it can be particularly difficult if your friends and workmates smoke.
“We know that the right professional help and support at the right time can make a huge difference, in fact it can make you around four times more likely to stop than with will power alone.
“We’re delighted that this partnership with Mace has proved so successful and would urge other employers to get in touch with us if they are interested in providing a similar service for their staff.”
For friendly advice and support on how to quit, call the Birmingham stop smoking team on 0800 052 5855 free or text 'QUIT' to 80800.