Better Care

Stop smoking team say 'don't go cold turkey!'

Don't  Go Cold Turkey Turkeys
The Don't Go Cold Turkey roadshow adopted a fun approach in order to get a serious message across.

Nearly 500 people received on-the-spot support to help quit tobacco when Birmingham Community Healthcare's stop smoking team provided expert advice in a drop-in session in the Bullring.

The Don’t Go Cold Turkey roadshow urged smokers to seek the support of healthcare professionals if they want to quit - and not rely on willpower alone.

In just one day, the team provided 347 quick consultations of around 30 seconds; 117 longer consultations of up to five minutes; and gained 27 new referrals into the service.

More than 1,200 leaflets were handed out offering health advice and information about support available to help stop smoking.

The advice session followed new research findings that a quarter of Birmingham smokers admit their last attempt to quit failed in less than 24 hours, with over half failing within a week.

The study found that six out of 10 smokers intended to quit as part of their New Year’s resolutions, with a quarter of those planning to go ‘cold turkey’ - trying to give up immediately using willpower alone.

However, the stop smoking team warns that this is the least effective method, with only three per cent remaining smoke-free after one year. Furthermore, over half of smokers have already tried and failed with the ‘cold turkey’ approach.

The research, for pharmaceutical company Pfizer, revealed that just 16 per cent of Birmingham smokers have spoken to their doctor about quitting smoking, despite studies showing that help from a healthcare professional can dramatically increase the likelihood of sustained success.

The average Birmingham smoker has tried to quit three times before, with nearly one in 20 having tried 10 or more times. Despite repeated failure, nearly half of all smokers think about giving up every day, with a quarter thinking about it five times a day or more.

Don't Go Cold Turkey consultation
More than 100 people benefited from five-minute consultations during the Don't Go Cold Turkey roadshow.

Jamila Hussain, stop smoking service operations manager, said: "Seven out of 10 smokers say they are fed up with smoking and want to stop but also have a track record of trying and failing.

"Evidence shows that you are four times more likely to stop smoking and stay stopped if you use your local NHS stop smoking service rather than relying on willpower alone.

“Our service aims to help support smokers to quit for life and over half of smokers who have successfully stopped for four weeks have not resumed three months later. In addition, over 90 per cent of people accessing our service confirm that they are satisfied with the support they have been given.”

In addition to providing access to a wide range of medications to help people give up cigarettes, Birmingham Community Healthcare's stop smoking service also offers support around stopping smoking Shisha and the use of other harmful tobacco products.


For free advice and support on how to quit smoking telephone 0800 052 5855 or text QUIT to 80800.


  • Click here for more information about our stop smoking service.