SMOKERS are being urged to stub it out after shocking figures revealed one in four people in Hartlepool lights up.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is encouraging those with the habit in the town to visit their local stop smoking services ahead of this year’s No Smoking Day on March 11.
The charity’s latest figures show that 24 per cent of adults in Hartlepool smoke, which is well above the national average at 18 per cent.
Charity bosses say a smoker with a 20-a-day habit will spend an average of £255 a month on cigarettes, based on an average £8.50 per packet of 20 cigarettes.
Studies have found that smokers are four times more likely to succeed in quitting with help from NHS stop smoking services than if they go it alone.
Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the BHF, said: “Smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and a variety of cancers. The good news is that stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart health and the risk to your overall health decreases significantly soon after you stop.
“We’re encouraging smokers to visit their GP, pharmacist or local stop smoking advisor to receive resources, information, and advice on quitting smoking.
“Getting prepared for your quit attempt is the first step on the journey towards a smoke-free life.”
“Join the nearly one million smokers who will make an attempt this No Smoking Day, and make March 11 the day you start to stop.”
While the damage smoking does to physical health is well-known, there is little known about the impact of smoking on those closest to smokers.
A new survey for No Smoking Day was commissioned to shine a light on the devastating impact that smoking has on people’s relationships, in addition to the well-known damage it does to people’s health.
The survey found that nearly two-thirds (66 per cent) of smokers in the UK have argued with a loved one about their habit.
Smokers are most likely to have argued with their loved ones about the risks to their health (50 per cent) and the financial cost (45 per cent), followed by the smell (32 per cent).
Smokers should also be aware that their habit could negatively impact the health of their loved ones.
Dr Knapton added: “Passive smoke is a cause of short and long-term illness in others and is particularly harmful to children – especially in enclosed spaces. It can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, and other health problems such as asthma and meningitis.
“Nearly 70 per cent of the smoke that causes damage is invisible, and opening a window does not protect others from the harmful effects of passive smoke. We believe that the single most effective way of reducing loved one’s exposure to passive smoke is for people to quit.”
To receive information and support on stopping smoking visit nosmokingday.org.uk and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NoSmokingDay.