Birmingham City Council has introduced a free stop smoking service called Quit with Bella across the city.
The mobile app provides users with a virtual coach and a community of users to provide support to each other to be smoke free.
The app has been developed by Solutions 4 Health, a specialist company in transforming services.
Marion Gibbon, Assistant Director of Public Health, Birmingham City Council, said: “Quit with Bella is a really important initiative within Birmingham. Plans are afoot to ensure that our population can improve their health before the likely ‘2nd wave of COVID 19’. Being about to stop smoking is part of enabling people to get fit and improve their health and well-being. This initiative enables people on a population wide level to get the evidence based support they need at any hour of the day or night and get the pharmaceutical input they require as well to stop smoking.”
Dr Justin Varney, Director of Public Health for Birmingham City Council, said: “Tobacco smoking is a known risk factor for many respiratory infections and increases the severity of respiratory diseases, meaning that smokers are at higher risk of the impact of coronavirus being significantly worse.”
“Stopping smoking remains the single most effective thing people can do to improve their and their family’s health both now and in the future. From the moment you stop smoking, your body starts to heal itself which will increase your ability to fight off various illness and diseases, as well elevating heart rate and helping blood pressure to drop.”
Leena Sankla, Director of Public Health for Solutions 4 Health, said: “I’m delighted that Quit with Bella will be made available for free to the population of Birmingham to support smokers in giving up. Quit with Bella was created to provide an on-demand, evidence based smoking cessation service at scale, and it’s been helping smokers from diverse communities with dynamic needs to make the best decision of their life by quitting smoking.”
Quit with Bella is also already being used elsewhere in the region;
Bal Kaur, Acting Director of Public Health, Public Health and Wellbeing, Dudley Council, said: “We are delighted that the Quit with Bella, the artificial intelligence stop smoking service, is meeting the needs of residents who want to stop smoking, and who may not have been reached by traditional stop smoking services.”
“The app is reaching high risk groups within our ethnic communities, younger people of working age and those who are sick, disabled or unemployed and offers an effective solution for stopping smoking.”
The company has also recently supported communities in Tower Hamlets digitise weight management services. Typically groups of 12 – 15 people would meet to attend a course, which the programme has now been made available online.