Giving up the weed for no smoking day

THE lives of some people in Comet country were changed for ever last week. They are the ones who gave up the weed on No Smoking Day – and will continue to stay off it. Health professionals from North Herts and Stevenage Primary Care Trust (PCT) have been

THE lives of some people in Comet country were changed for ever last week.

They are the ones who gave up the weed on No Smoking Day - and will continue to stay off it.

Health professionals from North Herts and Stevenage Primary Care Trust (PCT) have been helping hundreds of people give up smoking and say there's never been a better time to kick the habit for good.

A Trust spokesman said: "We all know that the health costs of smoking are high but giving up for good also brings financial and social benefits. At today's prices, a 20-a-day smoker will save more than £31,000 over the next 20 years by giving up.


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"By quitting you could also help to protect your children, family and friends from the effects of second hand smoke."

Since April 2005, the PCT has helped 434 people to quit and has introduced even more ways for smokers to access the support which can help them give up for good.

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Alongside advice from GPs, 17 pharmacists and seven specialist clinics in North Herts and Stevenage can offer free stop smoking services.

The PCT is also on hand to help local employers banish smoking from their workplace.

Herts Careers Service, based in Letchworth GC, is the first local company to establish an in-house stop smoking group with help from the PCT.

Nine members of staff joined the group and met weekly to talk about their progress and receive support from colleagues and the PCT.

One of them, Gill, said: I've been a smoker for more than 40 years and have cut down from 30 a day to a maximum of 10.

"The group sessions are so supportive. We talk about how giving up is affecting you and you realise that others are going through the same thing."

PCT smoking cessation advisor Emily Bines said: "Giving up smoking can be very difficult so it's important that people get the support and help they need while trying to quit. With encouragement from friends and family, as well as expert advice and preparation, you will dramatically increase your chances of success.

"Offering support to employers to help them go smoke-free is one of our priorities, and is now even more important following the MP vote to ban smoking from all enclosed public places from 2007."

This year's national No Smoking Day also marked a milestone for the local NHS - it's when all PCTs and hospital trusts became smoke-free.

This means that staff, visitors and contractors won't be allowed to light up anywhere within NHS grounds.

For advice on giving up or to book a place at a stop smoking clinic, call Hertfordshire Stop Smoking Service on 0800 389 3 998 or visit www.givingupsmoking.co.uk

Employers interested in setting up an in-house stop smoking group can contact Emily Bines on 01462 708470.

For press queries please contact Susan Parker on 01462 708470 (ext 318)

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