Ban ‘Prompts Smokers To Give Up’

One in five smokers say they will try to stop smoking when Wales’ smoking ban is introduced, a survey has shown. The research was conducted for No Smoking Day, which comes weeks before smoking inside public places and workplaces is banned in Wales.

The Welsh ban is being introduced three months before a similar one in England. Wales’ chief medical officer, Tony Jewell, said smoking had long been recognised as the largest single preventable cause of premature death. No Smoking Day is organised by a charity of the same name and is held across the UK each year.

Eirwen Lock, from Ystalyfera, Swansea Valley, who suffers from chronic lung disease after smoking for 44 years, said she would encourage others to give up. Even though she has now given up, she started smoking when she was 14 years-old.

“I was working in the tin works – everybody was smoking, it was the in-thing, so I started smoking,” she said. “I can’t go without oxygen now, I’ve got the mobile to go out and my machine in the house. So I can’t go without it now.”

Petula Garner, a respiratory nurse who cares for Ms Lock, said it could be hard for people to stop smoking. “It is really difficult, some people have been smoking for 30 or 40 years, it’s part of their lifestyle,” she said.

Across Wales on Wednesday, health organisations are using No Smoking Day to highlight the support they provide to smokers wanting to quit. Organisers in Wrexham are joining the fire service for a road show in Queen’s Square offering information and advice on ways to help give up smoking.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council will hold a No Smoking Day campaign in Market Street, Pontypridd to raise public awareness of the ban. And organisers in Cardiff will be hosting a drop-in centre at Canton Hypnosis Clinic to advise smokers.

Mike Ponton, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation, which represents all health organisations in Wales, said: “People often associate the NHS just with hospitals and treating sickness. But a key part of its work is in improving health, and helping people quit smoking has to stay top priority as it remains one of the biggest killers in Wales.

“This work is relatively cheap, compared to the cost of many drugs and other treatments. It delivers an enormous benefit for relatively little cost.”