Smokers in Suffolk hoping to kick the habit for their New Year’s resolution are being invited to use a free support service to help them quit.

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Live Well Suffolk, the free healthy lifestyle service, has teamed up with more than 100 pharmacies in the county to provide fully-trained stop smoking advisors offering practical one-to-one advice on how to give up.

Richard Crick, Live Well Suffolk’s healthy lifestyles services manager, said: “Trying to give up smoking is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions that people make, but often they don’t succeed.

“Quitting is tough, and we don’t want people to think that just because they’ve tried and failed in the past, they can’t try again. By taking advantage of the free support that is available from your local GP, you’re four times more likely to quit than if you go it alone.”

The launch of Live Well’s free advice service coincides with a hard-hitting national advertising campaign from Public Health England, which warns of the dangers of smoking and the damage caused to heart lungs and brain.

“If you could see the damage that smoking does to you, you would stop,” Mr Crick added.

“Every time you smoke, blood that’s thick and dirty with toxins circulates through your body in seconds, increasing your chances of a heart attack or stroke.”

With an estimated three lives lost every day in Suffolk to smoking-related diseases, the county council is also keen to help people quit by working with Live Well and the wider health community.

Alan Murray, cabinet member for heath and adult care, said: “I know that this can be a real challenge which is why we’re encouraging people to take advantage of the support available from their pharmacy or GP and local NHS stop smoking services.”

Further support schemes are also to be launched in north Essex, where health chiefs have announced their “most concerted stop-smoking campaign ever”.

Some 30,000 homes in north Essex will be sent leaflets advising people to give up in January with nicotine replacement therapy available free to those who sign up in the first four weeks of the New Year.

Launched by Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE) Colchester and Tendring NHS Stop Smoking Service, with financial support from Essex County Council and North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, the campaign hopes to achieve a “record number of local quitters”, said project co-ordinator Sue White.

For more information on the Live Well Suffolk schemes visit www.livewellsuffolk.org.uk or call them on 01473 229292.Alternatively contact your local GP.

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