Help is on hand for smokers across Stockton Borough to take the leap and give up now.
Stockton Council is working with health and other local services to promote ways to help people give up on National No Smoking Day this Wednesday (14 March).
The campaign will play a key part in increasing quit attempts and highlighting the availability of free NHS support to stop smoking. Its message picks up on the fact that 2012 is both a leap year and Olympic year, urging smokers to 'Take a Leap' and take the important step of becoming smokefree.
The theme recognises that giving up is tough but plenty of help is on hand. With NHS Tees, the Council is organising an information display and other events on Stockton High Street from 10am to 2pm on Wednesday with a free 'quit smoking' drop-in clinic in Stockton Town Hall open to all.
"No Smoking Day is a good opportunity to stop smoking but you could give up at any time, on any day, so why not take the leap today?" said Councillor Jim Beall, the Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health.
"We know most smokers would really like to stop, but find it hard to. But every year over a million smokers will use No Smoking Day to try to quit.
"Smoking not only costs smokers a huge amount of money, cigarettes also contain harmful chemicals and giving up can help smokers live longer and feel better.
"We're giving No Smoking Day our fullest support so smokers can find out how to find help and support to stop when they want to."
Displays giving information about stop smoking services will be visiting libraries across Stockton Borough throughout the week, as well as a number of employers in the area.
The Stockton and Hartlepool Stop Smoking Service is offering drop in sessions across the Borough to those people who wish to give up smoking. There will be help from trained advisors and prescriptions available for treatments such as nicotine replacement or other supporting medication. They will also provide free lung health tests in some drop-in clinics to support early diagnose of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Stop Smoking Advisors can also monitor a smoker's carbon monoxide levels so they can see the progress they are making and the effect it is having on their body.
No Smoking Day promotional materials have been sent to local children's centres, mosques, pharmacies, GP surgeries, the University Hospital of North Tees, community centres, schools, academies and colleges, youth clubs, supermarkets, leisure centres, mid-wifery services, the fire station and dentists.
Last Saturday, the Young Inspectors - a group of young people with an interest in health services, based at Stockton's Chill Zone youth club - took part in a display on Stockton High Street to encourage people to give up.
For more information visit www.taketheleap.co.uk or call 0800 434 6677.
For more details of the Stop Smoking Service and drop-in time table, call 01642 383819 or to find out your nearest drop-in clinic or pharmacy one-stop shop visit www.northoftees-stopsmokingservices.nhs.uk.