16.7 percent of men in Lancashire are smokers

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As Men's Health Week continues, figures show that almost 20 percent of men in Lancashire have fallen victim to the small cardboard packets.

However, new figures revealed that almost half of people in Lancashire on a programme to quit smoking have managed to kick in the habit.

Someone is counted as having quit smoking if they report that two weeks after their quit date they are no longer taking a puff.

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Figures from Public Health England revealed that 16.7 percent of men in Lancashire are smokers. It also showed that the number of smokers in Blackpool sits at the highest for the North West, at 21.1 percent.

Lancashire service Quit Squad are urging men to quit smoking during mens health week, and offer a range of support to help them do so.

Quit Squad offer specialist 'stop smoking' support and order medications. Their app, My Quit Route, offers online support and advice to those wanting to stop.

Once someone takes up the habit, it doubles the risk of a heart attack, increases the risk of suffering a stroke by 50 percent and causes 84 percent of deaths from lung cancer.

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Tracy Sutton, Quit Squad Manager at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust said: “Smoking is the single largest cause of the 10-20 year gap in life expectancy between people with a mental health problem and the general population.

More men smoke in Lancashire than women.More men smoke in Lancashire than women.
More men smoke in Lancashire than women.

"Quit Squad is still open and are encouraging smokers to contact the service for free help and telephone support as you are up to three times more likely to quit with the help of stop smoking products combined with our support, than if you try to quit on your own.

"Even if you have tried before and didn't manage, don't give up on quitting because you can do it. Many smokers try several times before they succeed.”

David Altham, a retired engineering machinist from Longridge, stopped smoking in 2012 after a severe chest infection made him realise he needed to kick the habit.

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"I had complications that put me in hospital for a couple of weeks, needless to say I could barely breathe let alone smoke," he said.

Stopping smoking is encouraged during Men's Health Week.Stopping smoking is encouraged during Men's Health Week.
Stopping smoking is encouraged during Men's Health Week.

"I used to light up a cigarette almost as soon as my eyes opened in the morning and stubbed out one before closing my eyes at bedtime. I can't stand the smell of one now. Many people who smoke say they can't give up, I used to say the same, but believe me, you can. If I can, anyone can.

"Adding up the annual cost is enough encouragement if nothing else, but health has to be the main reason, just because you can't see what they are doing to you on the inside is no reason to ignore it, my lungs are permanently compromised now, I have asthma, COPD and have to take inhalers daily."

Stopping smoking helps to protect others against the harms of second-hand smoke. It also includes a reduction in tension and anxiety and a cut to personal costs, with the average price of a 20-pack sitting at £10.80.

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Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of premature death and ill health in Lancashire. It kills more than 1,600 people aged 35 or over across the county each year.

Builder and joiner Kevin Pownall, 57, from Preston, stopped smoking after once puffing on 40 a day. He said: "I tried for years to give up smoking through he will power method but I just never managed it.

"The price of cigarettes with having a young family made me want to stop. My quality of life has changed for the better and I often think what I would be like if I had carried on smoking."

136,000 people in Lancashire smoke yet the habit is the major preventable cause of premature death and major disease.

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Services across Lancashire continue to offer support and advice to those who smoke and aim to give up the habit, that causes ___ deaths annually.

SmokeFree NHS offers a free 'quit smoking' mobile app, and is considered similar to having an online advisor available 24/7, helping users form their own personal quit plan.

The National Smokefree Helpline offers trained advisors offering confidential advise and information and can be contacted on 0300 123 1044.

Mens health week runs from June 15 to June 21. Information can be found at menshealthforum.org.uk.