Mass bid to kick the habit
Smokers are being urged to kick the habit and be part of a mass attempt to get people to stub out their cigarettes.
Stop smoking advisers will be out and about across Leicestershire to persuade people to join up to the national campaign, dubbed Stoptober, which aims to get smokers to quit for 28 days next month.
The Stoptober national team roadshow will be at the Highcross shopping centre on Saturday, September 15, so smokers can find out more or sign up.
There will also be a special health bus, which will be parked in Humberstone Gate from 9am to 1pm each Saturday from September 29 until October 27.
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Staff from the city Stop! smoking service will be on hand to support those interested in quitting smoking.
More than 8,000 people across Leicestershire quit smoking between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012 and advisers are hoping to match, or increase this number by the end of March next year.
Louise Ross, manager of the Stop! smoking service for the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for people to try quitting together.
"Already, there is a huge swell of interest in Stoptober and the team is ready to offer high quality support, at a place and time to suit an individual."
During October, Louise and her team will also be going into businesses and organisations to help workers quit.
Regular drop-in sessions are also held at various places throughout the county.
People wanting to quit will get up to 12 weeks support from an adviser, including one-to-one sessions.
Meetings are arranged at a time and place to suit individuals and people will be given stop smoking products to help them.
The new national campaign, launched by the chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, is being backed by Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation. Dame Sally said: "This is the first time we have launched a mass quit attempt like this.
"I would encourage people who want to quit to get involved."
Dr David Walker, director of public health at the strategic health authority, NHS Midlands and East, said: "The majority of people who smoke want to give up and this is a great chance for them to get the support they need to make this October the time quit for good."
A series of television and radio advertisements will begin on Monday to raise awareness of the campaign.
Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, which funds research and specialist nurses in Leicestershire, said: "Those who stop smoking reduce their risk of heart disease and lung cancer, as well as protect those around them from second-hand smoke."
For more information, contact the Stop! smoking service on 0116 295 4141 or 0845 045 2828.