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Over 3,800 people across Warrington living a life blighted by chronic smoking-related lung diseases

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Photo: (left to right) Noel and Marie, service users and ex-smokers, Danielle Ramsey, lead LiveWire advisor for smoking, Rita Robertson, WBC’s director of public health , Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, executive board member for public health and wellbeing, and Joyce, service user and ex-smoker outside Fearnhead Community Centre where a free local stop smoking service takes place.

Warrington Borough Council, in partnership with LiveWire, is supporting Public Health England’s New Year campaign and encouraging smokers to quit for good.

The campaign aims to urge smokers to contact their free local stop smoking service and improve their health whilst also decreasing the number of people suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

COPD is the name for a collection of lung conditions that include chronic bronchitis and emphysema. People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways and destruction of lung tissue.

Typical symptoms include breathlessness when active, a persistent cough and frequent chest infections. Large numbers of people with COPD are unable to participate in everyday activities such as climbing stairs, housework or gardening; with many even unable to take a holiday because of their disease.

Smoking is the biggest preventable risk factor of COPD and to give an idea of the devastation caused by it, the latest figures reveal that:

· The number of people diagnosed with COPD in Warrington reached 3,833 in 2014-15.

· 297 deaths in Warrington between 2012 and 2014 were caused by COPD.

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, executive board member for public health and wellbeing, said: “I urge everyone in Warrington who would like to quit smoking to use the New Year as a new start and name January 2016 as the day they become smoke free for good.

“Quitting is the single best thing you can do for your health and you don’t need to go through your quit journey alone. LiveWire’s local stop smoking is here to help you and you can also join together and quit with friends, family and colleagues to help you in your quit attempt.”

Smokers looking to quit are being encouraged to contact their local stop smoking service. There, they are four times more likely to quit for good with expert advice, support and medication on prescription. Suggested steps for preparing to quit include:

1. Contact your local stop smoking service to set up a meeting

2. Set a quit date

3. Tell family and friends you plan to quit to gain their support and help

4. Anticipate and plan for challenges while quitting

· Think about how you may feel when you first quit but remember that this is temporary, no matter how powerful it feels at the time.

· Know your smoking triggers (specific people, places, or activities that make you feel like smoking) so you can learn to deal with them.

· Plan ahead and come up with a list of short activities you can do when you get a craving.

5. Remove cigarettes and other tobacco from your home’ car’ and work

Danielle Ramsey, lead LiveWire advisor for smoking, said: “New Year is a great time for many smokers to make a change and quit for good. LiveWire’s stop smoking team offer a friendly support service that gives you the right advice and provides you with the right tools to give up cigarettes.

“Quitting this January will immediately result in health improvements including a better sense of smell, taste and more energy as well as reducing the risk of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer. Giving up can also improve more than your health, a 20-a-day smoker will save on average £250 a month. Don’t delay, make 2016 the year that you make a change and put your health first.”

If you would like to quit smoking contact your local stop smoking service on 0300 003 0818 visit www.livewirewarrington.co.uk/lifestyle/stop-smoking OR search ‘Smokefree’ online or visit nhs.uk/smokefree for the full range of free tools and support.

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