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Smokers encouraged to take the leap and quit on No Smoking Day (14 March)

Take the leap and quit: that's the message behind the 2012 national No Smoking Day campaign. Health professionals in Herefordshire know that most smokers would really like to stop but often find it hard to. They are encouraging smokers to take the leap this year, sign up to a quit programme and prepare to give up smoking on No Smoking Day (March 14).

Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke, and have little control over the quality of the air they breathe. They can be exposed to high doses of secondhand smoke at home or in the car putting them at risk of damaging health effects. This is why local health professionals are particularly keen to target families with young children this year.

As part of the 2012 No Smoking campaign, NHS Herefordshire's Healthy Lifestyle Trainer team will be taking a stop smoking road show to children's centres, talking to parents and carers about the support available to help them quit. They are also planning to have some fun with a couple of activity filled days at South Meadow and other local centres. While parents and carers learn more about how joining a quit programme can help them, the children will be getting stuck into some serious fun including frog mask-making, green jelly creations and treasure hunts, taking this years take the leap theme into another dimension.

Dr Sarah Aitken, Herefordshire's interim director of public health said, "We know that people who give up with help from a stop smoking adviser are four times more likely to succeed, so we are working with professionals from a number of organisations to make it easy for smokers to access this help where they live.

"People can get help by visiting their GP practice, local pharmacy or halo leisure centre. Alternatively they can find their local trained advisor by visiting NHS Herefordshire's website or calling 01432 383567.

"We want our children to have the best possible start in life. Encouraging parents and carers who smoke to quit helps make sure children's health is protected and significantly reduces the chances of the child becoming a smoker themselves later in life".