Smokers across Teesside are being urged to quit smoking and make a new start in life for this year’s No Smoking Day on Wednesday, March 14.
No Smoking Day 2012 is organised by the British Heart Foundation and aims to reduce tobacco-related death and illness by motivating smokers to quit.
Middlesbrough Council, and other partners are organising events to raise awareness about No Smoking Day and encouraging smokers to quit.
This year’s theme is ‘Take the Leap’ in honour of the Olympics, and former Olympic swimmer Chris Cook, who is from the North East, is backing the campaign.
Chris said: “I would encourage anyone in the region who smokes to take the leap and make this year’s No Smoking Day their first as a former smoker.
“We now know that there is a direct link between smoking and a whole load of cancers and other diseases.
“The easiest way anyone can improve their health is to stop smoking and No Smoking Day is a great opportunity for people to quit and lead a healthier life, particularly in this the Olympic year.”
Councillor Brenda Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Public Health and Sport and Chair of the Middlesbrough Smokefree Alliance, said: “Smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable death and disease in the UK, and in Middlesbrough, the number of people who die from smoking is much higher than the national average.
“But it is possible to break the habit, as more and more people are finding out all the time.
“No Smoking Day can be just the catalyst people need to quit - there is an abundance of advice, tips and support available to help people make what make be the single most important decision of their life.
“Giving up guarantees a smoke-free home and helps to reduce smoking-related health problems and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, especially to children.
“It isn’t easy – but the benefits to those who succeed can be huge. I would urge every smoker to give it a go and ‘take the leap’.”
Ailsa Rutter, director of regional tobacco control programme FRESH, said: “If you’re thinking about taking the leap and quitting smoking this No Smoking Day, a great first step is to contact your local NHS Stop Smoking Service – with their support you are up to four times more likely to stop than if you go it alone.”
9.30am – noon Members of the healthy living team will be at Middlesbrough College to encourage young people to quit smoking. There will be a stand with information on stopping smoking, the team will be taking CO2 readings, using Chemical Soup and using the April Age software to demonstrate the effects of smoking. The college is also doing a count down to ‘no smoking day’ on their website and screens around the college.
10am – 3pm The James Cook University Hospital – Stop Smoking services will be at The Atrium.
2pm – 3.30pm Fresh, Cleveland Fire Brigade and Specialist NHS Stop Smoking advisors are holding an afternoon event at Beechwood Primary school targeted at parents. There will be series of fun activities and also a poster competition for the school.
People can access help to stop smoking by phoning the Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland NHS Stop Smoking Service on 01287 284487, the Stockton and Hartlepool NHS Stop Smoking Service is available on 01642 383819 or the County Durham and Darlington NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0800 0113405.
Alternatively, people can call the national Smoking Helpline on 0800 012 1612, or visit http://smokefree.nhs.uk/