Thousands of smokers in the Western Isles are being encouraged to 'swap fags for swag' and consider the financial benefits of quitting today, on the 30th anniversary of No Smoking Day (March 13).
Nearly one in six UK adults smoke, including 26 per cent of people in the Western Isles (31 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women). But UK figures show two thirds want to quit.
This year smokers are being encouraged to focus on what they could afford to buy they were to quit for a day (saving £7), a week (£49), a month (£210) and a year (£2,555).
NHS Western Isles is running a series of awareness events focusing on how much quitters will gain in terms of their health and money in their pockets.
Smoke Free Hebrides is on hand to offer support and advice to anyone who would like to swap those fags for swag!
In Barra, Smoke Free Hebrides is promoting No Smoking Day in Clach Mhile Surgery and in the foyer of Castlebay School. There will be a display stand at the surgery all day. In the school, one of the Smoke Free advisors is on hand with a display stand and stall during senior school lunch break, where pupils and staff can come for advice and information.
In the Uists, Smoke Free Hebrides has a display in the Uist and Barra Hospital. There will is also a display in the foyer of the Council Offices in Balivanich where staff and members of the public will be encouraged to play a game of ciggie skittles for small prizes. The theme for No Smoking Day 2013 concentrates on treats and financial rewards when stopping smoking. Playing skittles and winning will just be a taster!
In Lewis and Harris, Smoke Free Hebrides is distributing the No Smoking Day message to various work places and establishments, including GP practices, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Lews Castle, Nicolson Institute, Sir E. Scott School and NHS Western Isles.
There are posters and leaflets distributed throughout the Western Isles promoting the No Smoking Day message. Two Smoke Free advisors are available in the Nicolson Institute today during the lunch period, and will be offering lung age and Carbon Monoxide tests to pupils and giving advice to anyone who wants to swap their fags for swag.
Angela Macleod, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) Occupational Health Nurse, has arranged to set up a display stand in the CnES council foyer and canteen. Once again, the theme is to encourage smokers to think about the benefits of quitting and how quickly they can achieve these. A Wealthier You, A Healthier You!
No Smoking Day 2013 officially launched on Wednesday 27 February, giving smokers two weeks to get ready to quit on No Smoking Day itself, Wednesday 13 March 2013.
NHS Western Isles Smoking Cessation Advisor Jenny Macleod said: "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 the Western Isles attempting to quit on the same day. This is why NHS Western Isles' efforts in spreading the word about the support available are so important, to help many make their first steps towards a healthier and wealthier, smoke free life."
Counting down to a smoke-free environment
Meanwhile, on No Smoking Day, NHS Western Isles is taking the opportunity to remind members of the public that the Board has taken a commitment to establishing a smoke-free environment in all of its premises and grounds.
Western Isles Health Board launched a one year countdown to a smoke free environment in November 2012, which means that all premises and grounds owned by NHS Western Isles will be smoke-free by November 30 2013.
In the meantime, smoking will be permitted only in designated smoking areas.
Smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in the UK and is the biggest cause of ill health in Scotland. It is now estimated to claim over 13,000 lives each year and costs the NHS in Scotland an estimated £200 million per annum. For these reasons NHS Western Isles aims to discharge its public health duties responsibly and will always act to discourage and consequently prevent smoking.
Remember: Smoke Free Hebrides provides free confidential, advice, help and support to anyone in the Western Isles who would like to quit smoking. We offer one-one, group, telephone, text or email at times suited to the needs of each individual. Why not contact us?
Lewis and Harris 01851 701623
Uists 01870 602588
Barra 01871 810895
- Ends -
For further information, contact