2012 anti-smoking health campaign

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THE Scottish Government is launching a new year campaign to encourage smokers quit the habit.

Public health minister Michael Matheson has urged smokers to benefit from a wide range of NHS stop smoking services to make 2012 the year they permanently quit smoking.

Smokers will be encouraged to call the new Smokeline telephone help number on 0800 848484 and to visit the website canstopsmoking.com which details the support available to smokers and how to access it.

A Scottish Health Survey shows almost 7 in 10 smokers in Scotland said they wished to give up – almost half of Scots (47%) smoked in 1972 but now that figure has dropped to 1 in 4 (25%) in 2009.  The NHS spends £409m+ per year in Scotland treating smoking-related illnesses and disease, and smoking costs the Scottish economy £837m.

Mr Matheson said: “It’s estimated that around a quarter of all deaths in Scotland are attributable to smoking.  We must, therefore, do all we can to emphasise the many benefits – both health and financial – of stopping smoking, which is the biggest single thing anyone can do to improve their health.

“Not only can quitting reduce a person’s risk of having a heart attack or coronary heart disease, it can also result in significant savings to family budgets – something well worth considering in the current challenging financial climate.  We have already seen an increasing number of people benefiting from NHS stop smoking services, while we know from the Scottish Health Survey that most people want to quit.

“That’s why it’s vital that we continue the huge range of support available – from face-to-face or online, to nicotine replacement therapy and group sessions.  And Smokeline can help you find the quit method that’s right for you.

“Scotland has come a long way in recent years with bold measures such as banning smoking in public places and measures to reduce the attractiveness of tobacco to under-18s, but we recognise we cannot be complacent which is why in the coming weeks we will be launching a new national campaign to highlight the benefits of quitting smoking and the support on offer.”

The stop-smoking help organization Ash Scotland says, stopping smoking tobacco produces major health improvements, such as: a much lowered risk of a heart attack and coronary heart disease; better blood circulation; decreased risk of developing lung cancer.

Ash Scotland research shows: 20-a-day smokers beating the nicotine addiction will save a minimum of £2,500 per year.

Chief executive of ASH Scotland Sheila Duffy said: “Many smokers decide to quit and find it easier than they thought it would be – but there’s plenty of help available to give you the best chance of success.”