A one stop health shop has opened in Lincoln’s city centre on Friday, February 5th. The facility aims to help people stop smoking, deal with weight problems and be aware of sexual transmitted diseases.

The old tourist information centre, in the Cornhill, has been transformed into the Phoenix NHS Health Shop. It will offer stop smoking advice for free, as well as lifestyle tips for weight management. Young people will also be able to request self-testing kits for Chlamydia.

The Phoenix Health Shop was officially opened by Gillian Merron, the MP for Lincoln. After cutting the red tape, she gave a speech in which she congratulated all who had been involved in the project and spoke about stop smoking legislation that she, as Minister of State for Public Health, has passed: “I am very proud that I took the legislation through parliament, the bit of the health bill that calls time on tobacco displays and vending machines, both of which tend to appeal more to young people in terms of getting tobacco.”

Merron said in an interview with The Linc: “We have a duty to help people, particularly young people. Many smokers tell me they took up when they were very young so we have a responsibility not just to provide these services but to have laws in place to make sure we help young people from smoking.”

“All I have ever done is smoke three cigarettes in one night at my friend’s 21st birthday and I never wanted to smoke again because, honestly, I couldn’t speak the next day. So I have never been a smoker but what I do know is that it is a big challenge, because it is an addiction, to give it up and that’s why we have to help people, because we can’t just leave people to die.”

Gary Burroughs, Lincolnshire Tobacco Control Strategy Manager who also attended the opening, knows that the new NHS Health Shop will be a success. The Phoenix Stop Smoking Shop in City Square is being used as a template for the new facility and Burroughs said: “What we did find was that it was too small, too many people wanted to use it and the demand for it was that great that we had to find an alternative. What it also proved was that local people prefer to actually be seen in that environment rather than say seeing a pharmacist or their GP.”

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