30 January 2014
In 2013 an estimated 3 million smokers in England tried to stop, and probably more than 100 million worldwide. Many will never smoke again, but many more could achieve their goal if they used what the science tells us are the best methods of stopping.
February 11th sees the official UK launch of a new book that aims to revolutionise the way smokers go about stopping. Called ‘The SmokeFree Formula’ it is based, not on wild claims of miracle cures or easy solutions, but on findings from billions of pounds, euros and dollars of research over decades.
The UK publisher is Orion Books (https://www.orionbooks.co.uk/). Translation editions are already agreed for Russia, Germany, Spain and most of Latin America, The Netherlands, Norway and Romania.
Professor Robert West, Addiction’s Editor-in-Chief and the book’s author, worked with Chris Smyth (Times Health Correspondent) and Jamie West (musician and writer) to answer questions that throughout his 30 years as a researcher keep being raised by smokers, journalists and health practitioners. Based at University College London, Professor West (www.rjwest.co.uk) is one of the world’s leading experts on stopping smoking, having published more than 300 scientific articles on the subject. He was co-founder of the English Stop-Smoking Services which last year supported some 700,000 smokers in their attempts to stop.
The book describes 29 ‘ingredients’ that smokers can put into their own personal ‘SmokeFree Formula’ based on Professor West’s guidance and their own experience. The ingredients each get a star rating based on the strength of the scientific evidence behind it. They range from professional support by a trained stop-smoking advisor and prescription medicines to electronic cigarettes, breathing exercises and even glucose tablets.
Besides describing the ingredients, Professor West explains how to get the best out of them. When it comes to getting professional support, Professor West explains what it involves and how it helps. He explains all the different options for stop-smoking medicines and nicotine products, how best to use them and all about their safety. He addresses issues such as stopping abruptly versus gradually, how to reduce exposure to smoking cues, mental exercises to beat the cravings and how to take smoking out of one’s identity.
Professor West says ‘I hope the book will be used by both smokers and health professionals. Smokers who are receiving professional support for stopping will have a handy guide to refer to in between the sessions, and those who are trying by themselves can get the expert advice on ways of staying smoke-free.’
The main challenge faced by a book like this is how to keep it lively and engaging. Professor West explains his approach. ‘I have written it in a very personal style with lots of stories to bring the information alive. Also, Jamie interviewed a lot of ex-smokers and their fascinating stories are scattered through the book to illustrate the key messages.’
The book is already available in the shops but the official launch is being held at University College London’s historic South Cloisters on 11th February from 5-7pm with speeches, book signing and a drinks reception.
There is a website, Facebook page and Twitter account linked to the book: