SMOKERS who want to kick the habit are being urged to take up the option of free support and boost their health and bank balance.
St Helens Council and health professionals are emphasising the value of the St Helens Stop Smoking Service and NHS Quit Kits now available to order online.
The authority’s Public Health team is also supporting the campaign with regular tweets highlighting the national campaign by Public Health England that highlights the toxic effect of smoking on the heart, brain and lungs.
The new campaign, supported by TV advertising, brings to life the toxic cycle of dirty blood caused by inhaling the dangerous chemicals in cigarettes, including arsenic and cyanide flowing through the body and damaging major organs.
The chemicals move through the heart, the lungs and into the bloodstream, finally damaging cells in the brain.
Along with the heart and lungs, the brain is particularly vulnerable to these toxins, leading to a faster decline in functionality and an increased risk of stroke and dementia.
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Gareth Cross said: “We want to help as many people as possible in the borough to kick the habit this January.
“Everyone wanting to stop smoking will be offered advice and support to help in their quit attempt. If you have been thinking about quitting now is the time to do it.”
Research shows that smokers are twice as likely to die from a stroke than non-smokers. Smoking can cause the arteries to narrow increasing the likelihood of blood clots that can lead to a stroke.
Studies also suggest that smoking accelerates cognitive decline in men and women - leading smokers to experience poorer memory and a greater decline in reasoning in later life.
The risk of dementia, along with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are further increased when smoking is combined with heavy drinking, poor diet, lack of exercise and high blood pressure.
Just over a fifth of St Helens people are smokers.
Figures released by Tobacco Free Futures, a social enterprise responsible for tackling tobacco in the North West show that smoking costs the borough around £47.4 million every year through demands on NHS services, loss of productivity from sick days and early death, plus the problems of litter and fires.
St Helens Council’s Director of Public Health Liz Gaulton said: “Addiction to tobacco is still St Helens’ biggest killer - half of all long term smokers in the borough dying from their dependence. People still underestimate the serious damage to health caused by smoking.
“Smokers who stop this month will notice immediate health improvements including a better sense of smell and taste and more energy. Longer term, ex-smokers reduce their risk of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer, as well as protecting others from secondhand smoke.”
Anyone looking to quit can visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree to receive free support tools and find details of where they can get professional advice through their local NHS stop smoking service.
You can contact the St Helens Stop Smoking Service on 01744 814837 or email email@example.com