Is it time to stub it out?

PUBLISHED: 13:01 03 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:30 25 May 2010

WHAT better time to stub out the smoking habit than at New Year s Day?

WHAT better time to stub out the smoking habit than at New Year's Day?

So, along with the knitted jumper, bad jokes and grumbling drunken grandfather, drop the packet of cigarettes and embrace the New Year.

Nearly a third of people smoke in the South West, but 70 per cent of those want to stop.

And there is no better place to stop than the For All Healthy Living Centre on the Bournville estate, where a successful Stop Smoking Group operates.

Director of Smokefree SouthWest Fiona Andrews said: "What better time to break free and go smoke free than this festive season?

"Stopping smoking can not only add years to your life, it also adds years to your appearance and can help stop premature ageing before it's too late."

The Stop Smoking Group boasts an 80 per cent success rate thanks to the work of two health professionals at the popular facility.

NHS North Somerset health improvement development manager Fiona Miles said: "I believe the secret of our success in this programme has been the group structure and its ability to give people the confidence they need to make the decision to stop and stay stopped.

"The harmful effects that smoking can have on your health are well documented, but people are mostly unaware of the damaging effect the habit can have on the appearance of your skin, your hair, your teeth and the yo-yo effect it can have on your weight."

NHS North Somerset has run the programme for 10 years, helping 10,000 smokers quit last month.

But Mrs Miles admits there is more to be done.

She said: "We estimate that 22 per cent of our adult population still smokes.

"We are committed to helping people quit and the template we have developed at the Bournville's For All Healthy Living Centre can be adapted to the needs of communities throughout North Somerset."

A new Stop Smoking Group starts at Lonsdale Avenue centre from 6.30pm on January 5.

Drop in sessions are also taking place in Tesco in Station Road on Wednesday's from 6.30-7.45pm.

For more information contact the NHS North Somerset stop smoking service on 01275 546744.

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