GMFA’s stop smoking courses are back and are now open to all members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. in a bid to help reduce the estimated 13,500 deaths in gay men each year from smoking related illnesses.1 GMFA’s course is now open to all members of NHS smoking session courses offer a 50% success rate2 but GMFA’s courses many more gay men who set a quit date with GMFA manage to stop (75%).
“Most people try to quit smoking by themselves,” said Matthew Hodson, Head of Programmes for GMFA. “While this works for some, the majority go back to smoking before the cravings have stopped. It’s proven that you are much more likely to succeed in your attempt to quit as part of course and because ours is specifically for LGB&T people it creates a more supportive environment to help you quit.”
Gay men are more likely to smoke than their straight counterparts. A staggering 40% of gay men are smokers – rising to 60 per cent for 25 to 34 year olds – way above the national average of 22 per cent.3,4 Lesbians are also more likely to have smoked than heterosexual women. For HIV positive gay men the story is worse still as they are more likely than other gay men to be heavy smokers.5 While 50% of all smokers die of a smoking related illness, stopping smoking dramatically reduces this risk, even within days of quitting.
The GMFA course takes place on weekday evening over seven weeks at GMFA’s offices near Old Street. The first three sessions look at the effects of smoking, helping you to assess why you smoke and what you can do to help yourself to quit, as well as providing information about the nicotine replacement and other therapies, such as Champix, that are available. Everyone quits together on the third session. The following sessions provide further information on what to do if you relapse, how to refuse offers of cigarettes, and also a great deal of group support for your attempt to quit. These four sessions last as long as the nicotine cravings last. After four weeks the physical cravings will have ended and you can begin to live your life as a non-smoker.
“I’m particularly thrilled that we are running the Smoking Cessation course again, as it’s a course that I’ve personally benefitted from,” adds Hodson. “I used to have a 20 a day habit, and more if I was drinking, but I’ve not had a cigarette since I did the course ten years ago. In that time I must have saved myself about £25,000 and I feel stronger and healthier for it too. The course really does work, so if you’ve been looking for that extra push to help you quit, sign up now.”
GMFA’s next stop smoking courses start:
– Tuesday 21st February, 7-9pm. Continues every Tuesday evening for seven weeks.
– Thursday 1st March, 7-9pm. Continues every Thursday evening for seven weeks.
Book a place at: www.gmfa.org.uk/stopsmoking or call 020 7738 3712.
Comments from the GMFA course evaluation:
“Doing something as part of a team gives you strength and willpower.”
“Having sessions in advance of your quit date helps you prepare mentally.”
“It helped to put my habit into a realistic perspective by listening to others talk about their relationship with smoking.”