No Smoking Day fuels calls to quit

In collaboration with the Press Association

Smokers are being urged to use National No Smoking Day (March 11th) as a springboard to giving up smoking.

Research conducted by the No Smoking Day charity suggests that concerns over health provide the main incentive for many people who hope to kick the habit, while more than a third of the UK's nine million smokers are considering quitting or cutting down because of the recession.

The Scottish branch of the British Medical Association (BMA) is urging people to give up and help to ensure that future generations do not take up the habit.

- Sarah Woolnough, head of policy, Cancer Research UK

Almost a quarter of all deaths north of the border are caused by smoking, with over 13,000 people dying every year as a result of tobacco.

Dr Peter Terry, chairman of BMA Scotland, said: "Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems. It ages skin, makes your breath smell and stains fingers yellow.

"Every day doctors witness the death and despair caused by smoking. Tobacco is highly addictive and people need support to give up. Most people who smoke tell us they wish they had never started."

Dr Terry claimed that it is essential to "break the tobacco trap", noting that young people who smoke will become tomorrow's parents who smoke, thereby inadvertently encouraging their own offspring to take up the habit.

"One of the best ways to prevent children starting to smoke is for their parents to quit," he said. "By stopping today, smokers are taking the first step to a tobacco-free future for their children."

Sarah Woolnough, head of policy at Cancer Research UK, said: "One in two long-term smokers will die from smoking - half of them in middle age - so quitting is the best thing people can do for their health.

"We know that 70 per cent of smokers want to stop. Quitting is difficult, but the important thing is to keep trying. Seeking support also increases the chances of quitting for good."

Cancer Research UK's 'Out of Sight, Out of Mind' campaign calls for further protection for children from tobacco marketing, through a ban on the display of tobacco in shops, the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes, and the prohibition of cigarette vending machines.