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Wigan smokers urged to ‘swap fags for swag’ on National No Smoking Day – 13 March
Friday 8th March, 2013

National No Smoking Day takes place on 13 March and Wigan’s Stop Smoking Service, run by Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust (Bridgewater), is urging thousands of smokers in the borough to ‘swap fags for swag’ and discover the financial benefits of kicking the habit.

This year is the 30th anniversary of No Smoking Day and smokers are being encouraged to focus on what they could afford to buy if they were to quit for a day (average smoker would save £7), a week (average smoker would save £49), a month (average smoker would save £210) and a year (average smoker would save £2,555).

Wigan’s Stop Smoking Service will be marking No Smoking Day with events throughout the week at Wigan and Leigh College as well as on 13 March at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary targeting any staff there who may need help to cut out cigarettes for good. The team will also be distributing National No Smoking Day posters and literature to their colleagues in Sure Start Children’s Centres, dental practices, pharmacies and GP practices to ensure the event is promoted throughout the local community and they will be running their usual 121 clinics a week throughout the borough giving people wanting to quit the support they need.

Nicola Yates, Stop Smoking Specialist Team Leader in Ashton, Leigh and Wigan for Bridgewater, said:

“26% of adults in Ashton, Leigh and Wigan still smoke but research shows that over two thirds of them would like to stop. One of the biggest incentives for smokers to quit comes from considering the real amount of money they spend on cigarettes and thinking about what themselves and their family could afford if they were to give up for good. By tallying up the exact amount of money that could be saved, smokers can work towards an actual goal – be it a new pair of shoes, a family trip to the cinema or a dream holiday.

“No Smoking Day provides the perfect opportunity for people to join hundreds of others in Wigan attempting to quit on the same day. Our service provides free one-to-one support for anyone who lives or works in the borough to quit smoking. Find out how we can help you to kick the habit by calling 01942 482539 or visiting www.bridgewater.nhs.uk/stopsmoking/.”

One man who is feeling the health and financial benefits of quitting is 51 year old David Myers from Atherton. He smoked 20 a day for 37 years but after watching his father die from throat cancer in May 2012 he decided to quit.

David signed up for support from Wigan’s Stop Smoking Service in September last year and regularly visited his Stop Smoking Advisor Sue Margetts. He says:

“Sue put me on the right track, she explained everything clearly and we discussed the best ways to cope with any cravings. She provided me with some useful information and a letter to get some nicotine patches to help with the initial cravings.”

David feels the most important factor in helping him quit was the support he received from Wigan’s Stop Smoking Service. He also found it motivating to blow into a carbon monoxide reader at each visit and see his initial high readings reduce to that of a non-smoker.

Not only does David feel much fitter after being smoke-free for six months, he also has an extra £50 a week in his pocket.

David’s Stop Smoking Advisor Sue said:

“David has done brilliantly. He was very determined from the start and I have a lot of admiration for what he has achieved. He has been smoking a long time so it’s very rewarding knowing I have helped him to make this important change. He looks and feels a lot better and is adamant he will not go back to smoking again.”

David advises others to give up smoking and feel the health and financial benefits for themselves. He recommends contacting Wigan’s Stop Smoking Service for support and says:

“The support is there to help you quit and if they can help me, they can help anyone become smoke-free.”

Get in touch with Wigan’s Stop Smoking Service now on 01942 482539 or by visiting www.bridgewater.nhs.uk/stopsmoking/.

For more information about the No Smoking Day campaign visit www.nosmokingday.org.uk.

Smokers can also visit www.WeQuit.co.uk, an online hub full of information and tips on how to quit. It includes a financial calculator to find out how much money you would save from quitting smoking and a forum where people can chat with more than 15,000 other quitters about the issues they face.

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