Trust raises awareness of smoking and Arthritis link
29/01/2014Dr John Simpson, Southern Health and Social Care Trust Medical Director recently launched a campaign in the Southern Trust supported by Pfizer, The Public Health Agency and the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society to raise awareness of the link between smoking and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
Evidence suggests that cigarette smoking doubles the risk of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis which causes inflammation in the joints. Smoking is also associated with more severe disease and so increases the chances of damage occurring in the joints. Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis may also be less effective in smokers compared with non-smokers which may further increase the risk of joint damage.
Poster, leaflets and postcards have been developed as part of the campaign to raise awareness and encourage people with Rheumatoid Arthritis and their family members to consider stopping smoking. This campaign is based on the successful campaign developed by the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society in collaboration with NHS Fife and Pfizer which raised awareness of the link between Rheumatoid Arthritis and smoking in Fife, Scotland.
Southern Trust Consultant Rheumatologist, Dr Nicola Maiden said: “Many people with rheumatoid arthritis are not aware of the impact smoking has on their disease. We hope that this campaign will educate people on the additional risks of smoking and empower them to make positive steps towards giving up”.
Lynne Smart Southern Trust Head of Health Improvement said: “Quitting smoking is one of the best things people can do to reduce the risk of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis or reduce the severity of the condition for those who have developed it.”
She added: “The Trust has a number of dedicated Stop Smoking Specialists to help people stop smoking successfully and they can be contacted on 028 37 415333 or by e mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We will monitor uptake of smoking cessation support services in response to this campaign.”
Back row left to right - Anne Clarke, Pfizer, Lynne Smart, Southern Trust Acting Head of Health Improvement, Siobhan O Brien, Public Health Agency, Dr Nicola Maiden, Rheumatology Consultant, Southern Trust; Front Row Left to Right- Demi Buckley (Work Experience Student), Elaine Wylie, Rheumatology Nurse Specialist, Southern Trust, Dr John Simpson, Southern Trust Medical Director, Brenda Toal, Southern Trust Promoting Wellbeing Specialist Lead