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Quitting smoking is the best Christmas gift for your loved ones

Quitting smoking for the sake of your family is the best gift you could give them for Christmas and it’s completely free – that’s the message from Fresh this festive season.

Smoking remains the single biggest cause of preventable illness and death in England. In the North East, over 113,000 people have died from smoking since the year 2000.

It’s never too late to quit smoking – and while it can take a number of tries to successfully quit smoking for good, thankfully there are more ways to quit now than ever before.

Christmas is also an expensive time when most people are counting the cost. Quitting smoking can give you an immediate pay rise which can help ease some of those stresses and worries. It could help offset household bills for fuel or food, or even pay towards a holiday or a trip away. If you smoke 10 a day, you could be spending nearly £40 a week and around £1,600 a year.

From Nicotine Replacement Therapy to switching over totally to vaping, smokers are advised to try a combination of different tools and methods to find what’s right for them. Local pharmacists and local free stop smoking service can advise on the best quitting aids to help develop a plan to quit smoking.

No matter how long someone has been smoking, the body begins to repair itself within moments of quitting, reducing the risk of serious, life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and COPD.

Cam Walton from Ryhope quit smoking in May 2020, after her oldest daughter begged her to stop, as she was so worried about something happening to her mum. Cam is now encouraging others to give quitting a go.

Mum of two, Cam said: “I was a 10-a-day smoker and managed to stop a number of times over the years, but I always started up again. I have two daughters aged 17 and eight and I quit during both pregnancies. But it was mainly social reasons why I started smoking again, it was a routine.

“My husband doesn’t smoke and my daughters hated it. But the thing that really got me was when I got in from work one day to find my oldest daughter upset in her room. She had found out at school about the things which can cause cancer and was so worried about losing her mum and I promised her I would stop smoking. I promised her then right that’s it – I’m going to quit smoking for good.

“When I finished my last packet of cigarettes that was it. I quit cold turkey – I was so determined. It also coincided with the menthol ban coming in. I was a menthol smoker and I just thought what’s the point? If I couldn’t buy them, it made perfect sense to quit.

“Not smoking is my new normal. I’m feeling great. My family are over the moon. Once you start feeling better, as well as seeing all the money you’re saving, it’s a no brainer to keep going.”

Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh and Balance said: “Quitting smoking is one of the biggest gifts you can give to your loved ones, by improving your health and improving the chances of being around for many more Christmases in the future. Children worry immensely about parents and grandparents smoking – they want them to be around for as long as possible.

“There are so many benefits to quitting smoking. Within weeks you feel fitter and can breathe easier. But as the weeks and months go by you reduce the risks of a life-changing illness.”

For help to quit ask in a pharmacy, with your GP or visit Ways to Quit for details of your local stop smoking service and other ways to quit.